Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food: Potato Cyst Nematode


The report was adopted by the Committee on April 28, 2009, and presented to the House of Commons on May 7, 2009.

A Government Response, as requested by the Committee, was presented to the House of Commons on September 14, 2009. It included a full response to the four recommendations of the report. The Government shares the Committee's commitment to address the needs of the potato sector facing transition, regulatory constraints, pressures on short-term liquidity, and long-term competitiveness challenges.

The response is available on the Parliament of Canada’s website.

Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry


The Committee tabled its fourth report (final) entitled Beyond Freefall: Halting Rural Poverty on June 4, 2009. This report was a result of the Committee’s study to examine and report on rural poverty in Canada. The report included 68 recommendations and was adopted by the Senate on June 18, 2009.

The Government Response included responses from 29 departments, agencies and Crown corporations, which gave careful consideration to the report's 68 recommendations. The Government Response was deposited with the Clerk of the Senate on November 13, 2009.

The Government of Canada supports the spirit and intent of the Committee's report and recommendations, which recognize that rural Canada is a vibrant and vital part of the country and that it is important for all levels of government and economic sectors to work together to develop opportunities for rural communities.

The Government Response was presented in four parts: a coordinated approach for sustained rural growth and prosperity; investments and partnerships to stimulate rural economies; investments and partnerships to support vulnerable Canadians and improve quality of life; and investments and partnerships to re-vitalize rural communities.

The response is available on the Parliament of Canada’s website.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Chapter 1 of the November 2009 report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) concerned a government-wide audit that examined program evaluation in relation to the measurement of program effectiveness, covering the five-year period from 2004-05 to 2008-09. The objective of the audit was to determine whether selected departments, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), and the Treasury Board Secretariat (Centre of Excellence for Evaluation) could demonstrate that the needs for effectiveness evaluation were being met, and that improvements in effectiveness evaluation had been identified and acted upon.

AAFC agreed with the Auditor General's recommendations and is taking action to address them. The report and a listing of recommendations with management responses from the six departments can be found on the Auditor General's website.

The OAG completed an audit on the Net Income Stabilization Account (NISA) Program for 2008-09. The objective of the audit was to provide an independent opinion on “whether the final statement had been fairly presented, in all material respects, in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles.” The audit report contained no recommendations1.

External Audits (These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

In May 2009, the Public Service Commission (PSC) released its report on the audit of the Federal Student Work Experience Program. Several departments, including AAFC, were included in the audit. The objective of the audit was to determine whether departments hiring students through Federal Student Work Experience Program, and making subsequent appointments using bridging mechanisms, were doing so in accordance with TBS and PSC policies and regulations.

AAFC agreed with the recommendations and provided a management response. The audit report includes a general management response based on the comments received from the departments audited. The audit report and general management response can be found on PSC's website.


1 OAG will not post this report on their website because there are no recommendations.

Assisted Human Reproduction Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
No recommendations were received.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
No recommendations were received.

External Audits
No recommendations were received.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) appeared before two parliamentary committees in 2009-2010.

On November 23, 2009, the Honourable Keith Ashfield and ACOA’s Executive Vice-President, Paul LeBlanc, appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages to discuss the Agency’s implementation of Part VII of the Official Languages Act (i.e. The Advancement of English and French). Minister Ashfield provided the committee with an overview of the official language minority community in Atlantic Canada. He and Mr. LeBlanc then discussed examples of the Agency’s initiatives to support the act through internal processes and policies, and through financial assistance to various projects under regular ACOA programs and the federal Economic Development Initiative.

On November 30, 2009, ACOA President, Monique Collette, and Vice-President of Finance and Corporate Services, Denise Frenette, appeared before the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. ACOA was one of three regional development agencies to appear before the committee at this meeting to discuss funding appropriation under Supplementary Estimates B. More specifically, the agencies discussed the administration of the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program within their respective regions of Canada. Ms. Collette provided the members with an understanding of how ACOA is structured and its role in Atlantic Canada. She and Ms. Frenette provided examples of RInC investments in the four Atlantic provinces and explained how funds in the Supplementary Estimates were critical to realizing the success of such initiatives to stimulate the economy in Atlantic Canada.

No recommendations have been received from committees during the 2009-2010 year.

Responses to Reports by the Auditor General
(including the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
The Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) audit of Canada’s Economic Action Plan (CEAP), including certain programs delivered by ACOA (Building Canada Fund, Community Adjustment Fund, RInC), is in progress at the national level. The report is to be tabled in October 2010.

The 2009 November Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development included a chapter entitled “Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act”, the audit coverage for which included ACOA. The audit identified a number of potential improvements in respect of the timeliness, effectiveness and quality of environmental screenings, though ACOA was not specifically mentioned in the report, and accordingly was not required to provide any response for inclusion in it. The complete report is available at http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_e_33253.html.

External Audits
(conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
PSC Audit (in progress)
The PSC undertook an audit of the staffing function in November 2009. It was anticipated that a review of the findings would be made available to ACOA’s director general of human resources in mid-May 2010, with the final report being presented to ACOA’s President in early to mid-June 2010. In October 2010 the PSC will be tabling the results of the ACOA audit in Parliament, along with those of other organizations.

The horizontal internal audit of high risk expenditure controls in large departments and agencies (LDAs), conducted by the Office of the Comptroller General of Canada, was completed during 2009-2010. It covered a number of federal departments and agencies, including ACOA. The audit concluded that LDAs are not taking advantage of risk management to help make their account verification practices more efficient, and recommendations for improvements were made. ACOA was not referenced in the report in respect to specific weaknesses, and accordingly was not required to provide any response for inclusion in it. The complete report can be found at http://publiservice.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2009/hia-vih-eng.asp.


Canada Border Services Agency

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts conducted a review of Chapter 5 (“Keeping the Border Open and Secure”) of the October 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada. The Committee tabled its report on February 25, 2009 and made four recommendations:

  1. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) should provide a status report on the implementation of the audit recommendations.
  2. The CBSA should include its risk management strategies in the 2008–09 Departmental Performance Report.
  3. The CBSA should include the status of its training models in the 2008–09 Departmental Performance Report.
  4. The CBSA should review the fees process to ensure no additional charges are levied for random inspections.

The CBSA’s response to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts was tabled in August 2009 and is found at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4017698&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts also conducted a review of the Office of the Auditor General’s audit of the CBSA’s management of the detentions and removals programs. The Committee tabled its report in May 2009 and made nine recommendations:

  1. The CBSA should develop a detailed action plan to implement the recommendations of the May 2008 audit by the Office of the Auditor General, along with the recommendations in the 2003 audit that remain unresolved. This action plan should be provided to the Committee by June 30, 2009.
  2. The CBSA should provide an interim status report to the Committee on its progress in implementing the Office of the Auditor General’s and the Committee’s recommendations by June 30, 2010.
  3. The CBSA should continue to develop its national training and monitoring framework to ensure that temporary resident permits are properly documented, and report to the Committee by September 30, 2009 on the implementation of the framework.
  4. The CBSA should develop regional detention capacity to ensure that decisions on detention are being made consistent with the risks posed to the public, and provide the Committee with a detailed plan on how to address the regional detention capacity issue by December 31, 2009.
  5. The CBSA should provide an interim status report to the Committee by December 31, 2009 on its ongoing negotiations with the provinces on the use of provincial detention facilities, including timelines for when it anticipates that the agreements will be concluded, and provide the Committee with a final report on negotiated agreements by December 31, 2011.
  6. The CBSA should take immediate steps to ensure that detainees are held in adequate facilities in the event of overcapacity, and allow the Canadian Red Cross to monitor conditions at a national level.
  7. The CBSA should undertake a broad review of the extent to which individuals are complying with the conditions of their release and whether non-compliance is resulting in undue risk to the public, and report back to the Committee with a summary of its findings and a remedial action plan by March 31, 2010.
  8. The CBSA should study the feasibility of using reciprocal information-sharing agreements with foreign governments, or an exit tracking system, to ascertain whether foreign nationals have left Canada.
  9. The CBSA and Citizenship and Immigration Canada should report to the Committee by September 30, 2009 on the current status of the Global Case Management System and the implementation of the required upgrades to the National Case Management System, including when the National Case Management System is expected to be fully operational.

The CBSA’s response to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts was tabled in September 2009 and is found at http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4097637&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

N/A

External Audits

The Public Service Commission of Canada conducted an Audit on the Canada Border Services Agency that was made public in October 2009. The Audit made the following six recommendations:

  1. The President of the CBSA should ensure that its integrated human resources plan provides direction to managers and human resources professionals on how to make decisions concerning their staffing activities by:
    1. outlining staffing priorities that are strategically linked to organizational risks and business plans;
    2. providing staffing strategies to guide decisions on when and how to staff positions, based on the Public Service Employment Act; and
    3. providing measurable expected results for staffing.
  2. The President of the CBSA should ensure that the Agency’s resourcing monitoring framework is fully implemented. This will assist the Agency in assessing its staffing management practices, performance and controls, and making adjustments, as required, to achieve the Agency’s human resource objectives.
  3. The President of the CBSA should provide the Public Service Commission with the Agency’s action plan resulting from its appointment file review. This action plan should describe the actions to be taken including corrective measures, accountabilities, timelines and how the progress of the implementation of the action plan will be monitored.
  4. The President of the CBSA should establish an evaluation process to help identify training requirements for sub-delegated managers to ensure that those who are sub-delegated are and remain competent to exercise their appointment and appointment-related authorities.
  5. The President of the CBSA should clarify roles and responsibilities for appointment and appointment-related activities between the Agency’s branch management services units and the Human Resources Branch to help ensure that sub-delegated managers have timely access to appropriate human resources advice.
  6. The President of the CBSA should require the successful completion of the Public Service Commission’s Appointment Framework Knowledge Test, within the Personnel Administration Development and Apprenticeship Program, to support sub-delegated managers having access to a CBSA human resources specialist whose expertise in the Appointment Framework has been validated by the Public Service Commission.

The audit report and the CBSA response to each recommendation are found at http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/rprt/2009/acbsa-vasfc/index-eng.htm.

Canada Revenue Agency

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

[Parliamentary Committees have continually called for improved reporting by departments and agencies in their reports to Parliament on follow-up to committee recommendations. As a result, departments and agencies are encouraged to discuss progress made to address Parliamentary Committee recommendations and provide further information on significant corrective actions achieved.]

1. Government Responses (GR)

Government Responses (GR) are requested by Parliamentary Committees under House of Commons Standing Order 109 or under Rules of the Senate 131(2). Such requests are included in the reports tabled by the respective Parliamentary Committee.

The Minister of National Revenue did not table a GR to a Parliamentary Committee report in fiscal year 2009-2010.

In its Spring 2009 Report, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada included a chapter on “Interest on Advance Deposits from Corporate Taxpayers – Canada Revenue Agency” (Chapter 4). The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP) held a meeting on October 26, 2009 to study this chapter. PACP tabled its Seventh Report on Chapter 4 on April 14, 2010.* A GR was requested in the Seventh Report, and will be presented in fiscal year 2010-2011. Further information on this GR will be included in the Departmental Performance Report 2010-2011 for the Canada Revenue Agency.

(* N.B.: Parliament was prorogued between December 30, 2009 and March 3, 2010).

Please see section 3 for more information.

2. Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Follow-up requests from PACP regarding Government Responses (GR) and Other Information

In March 2010, PACP tabled its First Report entitled “Following up on Recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in the 39th Parliament, Second Session”. In that document, PACP explains the process by which it tracks the progress of Government actions, as provided in various GRs to Reports tabled by PACP. Excerpts from PACP’s First Report explain its approach and should provide context for the impacts on CRA reporting:

“[PACP] has a mandate to examine the reports of the Auditor General, the Public Accounts of Canada, and the management and performance of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) … [PACP] has the power to hold hearings on the subjects within its mandate and subsequently present a report to the House of Commons on its findings. As most of the Committee’s reports contain recommendations to the government, the Committee usually requests a response from the government, which must be tabled in the House within 120 days. …Issuing a report with recommendations and asking for a government response serve to highlight specific issues and add a parliamentary voice to further encourage government action to address problems raised by the OAG ... [PACP] decided to develop and implement a process to follow-up on its recommendations. Such a process keeps the Committee aware of the progress being made in specific areas and helps to ensure the Committee’s recommendations are taken seriously by the government and are not ignored once the Committee’s report is presented to the House … It is the Committee’s intention that this will be an annual process.”

Please note that the 39th Parliament, 2nd session referred to in the above-noted report corresponds to the period October 16, 2007 to September 7, 2008. No follow-up requests were received in fiscal year 2009-2010 with respect to reports or responses originally tabled in the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, or the 40th Parliament (please see Section 3. Reference to the CRA in Committee Reports’ for further information.)

PACP Requests for Departmental Action Plans and Progress Reports

On March 25, 2010, PACP adopted a motion requiring departments and agencies that have been subject to a performance audit by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada to provide the Committee with their action plans to address the audit recommendations which have been agreed to.

As noted in the Departmental Performance Report 2008-2009 for the Canada Revenue Agency, the CRA was the subject of several chapters contained in various Auditor General Reports tabled in 2008-2009. However, given the timing of the adoption of the original motion (March 5, 2009, and an amendment to the original motion on October 28, 2009), and given that the motion was made retroactive to the Auditor General Report of December 2008, action plans were available for submission to PACP only in fiscal year 2009-2010.

The following Action Plan was presented to PACP on October 25, 2009:

The following Action Plans were provided to PACP on November 13, 2009:

The following Action Plan was provided to PACP on March 22, 2010:

3. Reference to the CRA in Committee Reports

In 2009-2010, various Parliamentary Committees did table reports wherein the CRA is mentioned. These include:

Standing Committee on Finance (FINA)

FINA undertook a study of the treatment and characterization of Personal Services Businesses. The Committee met to study this topic on December 3, 2009. CRA officials were invited to appear. Due to the prorogation of Parliament, FINA tabled its report on June 10, 2010, entitled “Servant or Master: Differing Interpretations of a Personal Services Business”. FINA has requested a GR to its recommendations. As the Report was tabled in fiscal year 2010-2011, and the GR will be presented in fiscal year 2010-2011, further information will be included in the Departmental Performance Report 2010-2011 for the Canada Revenue Agency.

Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA)

On June 17, 2009, ACVA tabled a report entitled “Shared Experiences: Comparisons of Veterans Services Offered by Members of the Commonwealth and the G8”. The report contained a recommendation for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) which made reference to the CRA. A GR was tabled by the Minister of Veterans Affairs on October 19, 2009.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

Eleventh Report (The Public Accounts of Canada 2007) – Tabled March 5, 2008

Recommendation 2: “The Canada Revenue Agency modify its tax revenue estimation methodology by 30 September 2008. If this cannot be done by this date, the Canada Revenue Agency should explain to the Public Accounts Committee the reasons for the inability to meet this deadline and provide the Committee with a date by which this modification will be done.”

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3320946&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=39&Ses=2

Government Response (presented July 16, 2008, by the President of the Treasury Board)

On March 29, 2010, PACP’s First Report “Following up on Recommendations made by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in the 39th Parliament, Second Session” was presented in Parliament. It included an assessment by PACP as to whether or not the specific recommendation was adequately addressed in the GR. On page 102, PACP considers this recommendation to have been addressed.

Sixth Report – Public Accounts of Canada 2008 – Tabled March 24, 2009

Recommendation 1: “That the Canada Revenue Agency provide the Public Accounts Committee a detailed plan with timelines by 31 May 2009 of how it will improve its methodology to calculate the allowance for doubtful tax receivables.”

http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3731039&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Government Response (presented August 19, 2009, by the President of the Treasury Board)

Auditor General – Fall 2009 Report – Chapter 3 – Income Tax Legislation

On March 23, 2010, PACP held hearings on its study of this chapter. On April 28, 2010, PACP tabled its report and recommendations. A Government Response is expected. As the Report was tabled in fiscal year 2010-2011, and the Government Response will be presented in fiscal year 2010-2011, further information will be included in the Departmental Performance Report 2010-2011 for the Canada Revenue Agency.

Response to the Auditor General

2009 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada (Tabled in May 2009)

Chapter 3 – Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_03_e_32516-eng.html

Chapter 4 – Interest on Advance Deposits from Corporate Taxpayers – Canada Revenue Agency

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_04_e_32517-eng.html

2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada (Tabled in November 2009)

Chapter 3 – Income Tax Legislation – Department of Finance Canada and Canada Revenue Agency

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_03_e_33204-eng.html


Canada School of Public Service

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
N/A
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
Report of the Auditor General on Modernizing Human Resources Management (Chapter 2 - April 2010 Report) - The objective of the audit was to assess the status implementation of the Public Service Modernization Act in the federal public service. The School was part of the scope of this audit. However, as none of the recommendations were directed at the School, there is no School's management action plan for this audit.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
Study on Casual Employment by the Public Service Commission - The School was one of the Entities studied. This report was originally planned for tabling n May 2010 but is now scheduled for October 2010.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
No recommendations were received.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

2009 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Chapter 1, Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

Four recommendations were directed at the Agency. Three of the recommendation focused on the Agency's Quality Assurance Program. The other recommendation identified long-standing, systemic issues with federal coordination in environmental assessment. The Agency responded to the recommendations.

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_01_e_33196.html#appa

 

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
The Agency did not participate in any external audits during the reporting period.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

3.2.8 Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

The Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (SCAAF)

  • In May 2009, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food (SCAAF) tabled a report on its study: "The Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) in Quebec and Alberta" with a focus on the assistance offered to producers in these quarantined areas. SCAAF made four recommendations to the Agriculture portfolio which agreed to address each finding. Recommendation #2 sought a timely completion of the negotiations to establish "Guidelines on Surveillance and Phytosanitary Actions for PCN" between Canada, the United States and other countries. In June 2009, the revised Guidelines were signed between the CFIA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). In response to Recommendation #4, the CFIA reaffirmed its commitment to address the findings of the December 2008 OAG audit report "Managing Risks to Canada's Plant Resources".

GOC Response to SCAAF Report at Parliamentary can be found at: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4096914&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Referenced in Section II of the DPR under PA 2.2.2 Plant Health Risk and Production Systems – Strategic Performance Analysis

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP)

  • In June 2009, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PACP) tabled a report which described its assessment of the CFIA's Management Action Plan (MAP). This MAP describes how the CFIA will address the recommendations made in the December 2008 OAG audit report "Managing Risks to Canada's Plant Resources". In its report, the PACP provided six recommendations for the CFIA to consider, including the requirement for the Agency to provide a detailed and technical action plan to the PACP by December 31, 2009.
  • The CFIA agrees with all the PACP recommendations. Due to the high degree of similarity around the findings of the OAG audit, the PACP study and a 2008 internal evaluation report on the Agency's invasive alien species program, CFIA's response to all of these report recommendations was integrated into one single Detailed and Technical Action Plan (DTAP). The DTAP identifies a framework of specific initiatives and strategies to be undertaken by the CFIA over the next five years that in the aggregate will achieve the performance improvement required to address the issues identified by the OAG, PACP and the internal evaluation.

CFIA's detailed action plan can be found at: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4140080&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Referenced in Section II of the DPR under PA 2.2.2 Plant Health Risk and Production Systems – Strategic Performance Analysis

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Not Applicable

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

External Audits
The Office of the Comptroller General Horizontal Internal Audits:

  1. Horizontal Internal Audits of Corporate Risk Profiles in Large Departments and Agencies (LDAs)

    The report examined how corporate risk management processes are governed, what systems and practices are used to develop them, how they are incorporated into business planning, and how LDAs report on corporate risk management performance.

    http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2010/crp-pro-eng.asp
  2. Horizontal Internal Audit of High Risk Expenditures in Large Departments and Agencies (LDAs)

    The report examined the risk management over expenditure controls and the practices in place in a sample of LDAs in order to determine whether expenditure management was being carried out in a cost-effective and efficient manner while maintaining the required level of control.

    http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2009/hia-vih-eng.asp

Canadian Grain Commission

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
No recommendations were received.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
No recommendations were received.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
No external audits were conducted.

Canadian Heritage

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Response to the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Issues and Challenges Related to Local Television.

  • On June 19, 2009, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled in the House of Commons a Report entitled: "Issues and Challenges Related to Local Television" which contained 18 recommendations. The Government Response, prepared by the Department of Canadian Heritage and signed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, was tabled on October 9, 2009. From March 2009 to June 2009, the Committee undertook a study on the Evolution of the Television Industry in Canada and its impact on Local Communities. The Committee set out two general principles: "that any programs designed to assist local broadcasting be open to both private and public broadcasters" and "the Committee reaffirms the importance of maintaining Canadian content and local programming obligations". The Government acknowledged in its response that "Local television is changing in ways that the Committee has noted".  The Government indicated that before moving forward to address the issue, he wanted to see what would be the outcomes of the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) hearings. 

Link to the Government Response: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?
DocId=4139151&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Response to the First Report of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Report on the Analysis of the Arts Programs that were cancelled in summer 2008.

  • On April 23, 2009, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled in the House of Commons a report entitled: Report on the Analysis of the Arts Programs that were cancelled in summer 2008, which did not included any recommendation. The Government Response was tabled on August 19, 2009. It was prepared by the Department of Canadian Heritage and was signed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. In its report, the Committee concluded that the "cuts to arts programming, particularly the loss of the Department of Heritage's Trade Routes and Department of Foreign Affairs PromArt had major negative impacts on Canadian arts organizations", "that these cuts were ideological in nature" and "calls on the government to reinstate the programs". The Government Response indicated that "Programs affected were those that were not effectively meeting objectives, or had attained their original objectives."

Link to the Government Response: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=40177
66&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Response to the Second Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women entitled: "Towards Gender Responsive Budgeting: Rising to the Challenge of Achieving Gender Equality".

  • On February 26, 2009, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women tabled in the House of Commons a report entitled Towards gender responsive budgeting: rising to the challenge of achieving gender equality which included 27 recommendations. The Government Response was prepared by Status of Women Canada and was tabled on August 19, 2009. It was signed by the former Minister of State for the Status of Women. By tabling this report, the committee reiterated recommendations they made during the 39th Parliament in 2008, in their Eleventh Report entitled Towards Gender Responsive Budgeting: Rising to the Challenge of Achieving Gender Equality. The Committee recommended that gender-based analysis being performed be strengthen and that Central Agencies play a more important role on the issue of gender-responsive budgeting. The Government responded that it "recognizes the importance of gender-based analysis in the development and assessment of policies and programs and accepts the intent of the Committee report as to the enhancement of gender-based analysis implementation in Government and to increasing the integration of gender-based analysis within the budget process". One of the Committee's recommendations was that the Office of the Auditor General conduct an audit on the implementation of gender-based analysis across Government and this audit was tabled in the House on May 12, 2009. In its Response the Government indicated that "The Government is ready to act on the findings in the audit and recognizes the importance of gender-based analysis in policy and program formulation and assessment."

Link to the Government Response: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4017756&
Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Response to the Third Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages entitled: Francophone Arts and Culture: Living Life to Its Fullest in Minority Settings.

  • On June 4, 2009, the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages tabled its Third Report entitled: Francophone Arts and Culture: Living Life to Its Fullest in Minority Settings, which included 8 recommendations. A motion to request a Government Response was adopted in the Senate. The Government Response was tabled on November 6, 2009 and was signed by the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. The Committee indicated in its report that "supporting arts and culture must be part of a comprehensive, sustainable and effective strategy for the development of Francophone communities in minority settings." It concluded by saying that "Arts and culture are at the heart of Canadian identity; they are at the heart of the identity of Francophone communities in minority settings." In its Response the Government indicated that it "is determined to support the development of Francophone arts and culture in Canada. It is convinced of the importance this area of activity plays in the vitality of Francophone communities in this country and of the contribution these communities can make to the expression of arts and culture nation-wide."

The Government Response is not available online.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Auditor General's 2009 Fall Report – Chapter I - Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs

  • The Report was tabled in the House of Commons on November 3, 2009.

  • The audit examined how evaluation units in six departments (including Canadian Heritage) and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) identify and respond to the various needs for effectiveness evaluations. It also looked at whether departments have built the required capacity to address those needs. Finally, it examined the oversight and support role of TBS in monitoring and improving the evaluation function in the government.

  • It found that most of the effectiveness evaluations did not adequately assess program effectiveness, due mainly to the lack of performance data on which to base their evaluation. The audit also found that departments do not systematically identify the improvements that are needed to carry out effectiveness evaluations.

  • The Department of Canadian Heritage agreed with all three recommendations addressed to the audited departments and prepared an action plan to:

    1. ensure that ongoing program performance information is collected to support effectiveness evaluation;

    2. consider the merits of including external experts on their departmental evaluation committees; and

    3. implement systematic processes to determine whether their effectiveness evaluations are meeting government-wide requirements and internal corporate needs, and act on areas identified for improvement.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
No recommendations were received.
Response to the Auditor General including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
No recommendations were received.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
No external audits were conducted.

Canadian International Development Agency

Response to the Auditor General

On November 3, 2009, the 2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada was presented to Parliament. Chapter 8 of this report assessed how CIDA had implemented its 2002 Policy Statement on Strengthening Aid Effectiveness, and provided a series of recommendations related to aid effectiveness. The Auditor General’s full report, which includes CIDA’s response, can be found at: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_08_e_33209.html#appa

Summary: Chapter 8—Strengthening Aid Effectiveness—Canadian International Development Agency

The audit covered the period 2002–2009. It examined the planning and support of country programs, project selection and monitoring, and corporate management processes and oversight. Auditors gathered information at CIDA headquarters and in five countries: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, and Vietnam.

The audit found that CIDA had not put in place all the required management processes to implement and monitor its aid-effectiveness commitments. As well, the Agency’s country-planning frameworks were found to have been not managed effectively. Although the audit found CIDA’s project selection rationales to be consistent with the principles of aid effectiveness and its project-planning processes addressed potential risks, it was noted that these processes would benefit from a consideration of CIDA’s strengths relative to those of other donors. Finally, the Auditor General noted that the frequent changes in policy direction and substantial turnover of senior managers in recent years posed significant challenges to CIDA in achieving its aid-effectiveness agenda, as the long-term nature of international development requires stability and predictability of programming.

Despite these drawbacks, the Auditor General did note that CIDA has performed very strongly in several areas critical to poverty reduction, and that the Agency had made considerable progress in donor harmonization, local ownership, and solid risk-management practices. Finally, the Auditor General made it clear that CIDA is well regarded out in the field, and that its partners appreciate the Agency’s efforts.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
  • June 4, 2009 - President Michael Binder and Peter Elder, Director General, Directorate of Nuclear Cycle and Facilities Regulation appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources in relation to the committee's study of the Atomic Energy Canada Limited facility at Chalk River and the status of the production of medical isotopes.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
  • None to Report
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
  • None to Report

Canadian Space Agency

3.3.6) Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees
  • No recommendation was received in 2009-2010.
Response to the Auditor General
  • No recommendation was received in 2009-2010.
External Audits
  • The Office of the Comptroller General conducted on horizontal audit on Contracting and Monitoring Information Systems (2009). The CSA's response to this audit is reported in the Follow-up on Management Action Plans for Audits (2010):
    http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/pdf/management-2010.pdf

Canadian Transportation Agency

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

During the reporting period, there were no Parliamentary Committee recommendations on which the Agency was asked to respond.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

During the reporting period, no recommendation of the Auditor General nor the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development was addressed specifically to the Agency.

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

No external audits were done during fiscal year 2009–2010.


Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Report 7: Temporary Foreign Workers and Non-Status Workers

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration presented the report and 36 recommendations to the House of Commons on May 6, 2009. The recommendations covered a wide range of issues, including the operation and management of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program; pathways to permanent residency; work permits; the Live-in Caregiver Program; and worker protection.

The Government of Canada’s response was tabled on August 19, 2009.

Report 11: Review of the Subject Matter of Bill C-37, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, Enacted in Second Session of the 39th Parliament

The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration presented the report and three recommendations to the House of Commons on June 25, 2009. Two recommendations related to the first-generation limit on passing on citizenship by descent for children born abroad to or adopted by Canadians, while the third called on the Government to consider as quickly as possible those cases not resolved by Bill C-37.

The Government of Canada’s response was tabled on October 23, 2009.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG)

November 2009 Chapter 1—Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs

This government-wide audit examined program evaluation in relation to the measurement of program effectiveness. The overall objective of the audit was to determine whether selected departments and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat are meeting the needs for effectiveness evaluation and are identifying and making improvements in effectiveness evaluation. CIC was one of six departments in which examination work was carried out. The audit covered a five-year period, from the 2004–2005 to 2008–2009 fiscal years. CIC was included in three recommendations made by the OAG, which recommended that CIC:

  • Develop and implement action plans to ensure that ongoing program performance information is collected to support effectiveness evaluation;
  • Consider the merits of including external experts on the departmental evaluation committee; and
  • Implement systematic processes to determine whether effectiveness evaluations are meeting government-wide requirements and internal corporate needs, and act on areas identified for improvement.

CIC agreed with these recommendations.

November 2009 Chapter 2—Selecting Foreign Workers Under the Immigration Program

The OAG examined how CIC plans for and manages programs designed to facilitate the entry of permanent and temporary workers into Canada and the recognition of foreign credentials in Canada. In addition, the OAG looked at the role of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) in supporting the planning and delivery of these programs, including the issuance of labour market opinions by its Service Canada offices. The audit covered the period from June 2002, when the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act came into effect, to June 30, 2009.

A number of recommendations were made to the Department. The OAG recommended that CIC:

  • strengthen its strategic planning, by developing a strategic roadmap for the future of the Immigration Program including a clear vision of what each category is expected to contribute and take the necessary steps to ensure that its programming is optimal and closely aligned with that vision;
  • in developing future ministerial instructions, ensure that selected strategies are supported by strong policy, program and operational analysis;
  • closely monitor the impact of the new eligibility criteria on the number of applications to be processed under the Federal Skilled Worker category and on the effectiveness of its inventory reduction strategy;
  • evaluate, after the first two years of operations, the cost-effectiveness of the Centralized Intake Office and the extent to which it is meeting its objectives;
  • ensure that its quality assurance framework is implemented fully and consistently in all missions;
  • work with provinces and territories to ensure that, for the Provincial Nominee Program: mechanisms are in place to collect and share appropriate information against agreed upon evaluation criteria, evaluation plans are prepared and implemented and quality assurance mechanisms are in place; and
  • in consultation with key partners, put in place structures and processes to ensure that the selected eligible occupations remain relevant to the changing needs of the Canadian labour market; and
  • HRSDC:
    • clarify its respective roles and responsibilities, and put mechanisms in place to ensure that the genuineness of job offers is systematically verified;
    • implement mechanisms that would better enable HRSDC to ensure the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the protection of individuals; and
    • carry out evaluations of permanent and temporary foreign worker programs according to its approved evaluation plans.

CIC agreed with the recommendations.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

No audits of CIC
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

Public Service Commission of Canada

No audits of CIC.

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

No audits of CIC.


Correctional Service Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
  • [Parliamentary Committees have continually called for improved reporting by departments and agencies in their reports to Parliament on follow-up to committee recommendations. As a result, departments and agencies are encouraged to discuss progress made to address Parliamentary Committee recommendations and provide further information on significant corrective actions achieved.]
  • On October 1, 2009, the Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister of State (Seniors) provided the Chair of the Special Senate Committee on Aging with the Government Response to the Final Report of the Special Senate Committee on Aging: Canada’s Aging Population: Seizing the Opportunity. CSC provided input to Health Canada, in response to their request for information regarding Recommendation 12 in the Report by the Special Senate Committee on Aging; this information is incorporated into the section on Older Federal Offenders which appears in the Government Response under “Theme V: Federal Population Groups”.

Committee Report:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/40/2/parlbus/commbus/senate/com-e/agei-e/rep-e/AgingFinalReport-e.pdf

Government Response:
http://www.seniors.gc.ca/images/upload/canada/165/Report_on_Aging_eng.pdf
  • On October 19, 2009, the Minister of Public Safety tabled the Government Response to the Fifteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Chapter 7, Economy and Efficiency of Services – Correctional Service of Canada – December 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada). The response provided a reply to four recommendations related to improving the economy and efficiency of procurement; reviewing the cost of procurement and delivery of food, cleaning and clothing service; budgeting for overtime costs; and, seeking to further reduce those costs by examining measures to reduce the use of sick leave by correctional officers. A commitment was made by CSC to provide the Committee with progress reports by December 31, 2009, and April 30, 2010.

Committee Report:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3960844&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Government Response:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4144540&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

Department of Finance

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Response to Chapter 1—Gender-Based Analysis of the 2009 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada (May 2009). Detailed responses follow each recommendation throughout the chapter.

Response to Chapter 3—Income Tax Legislation of the 2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada (November 2009). Detailed responses follow each recommendation throughout the chapter.

External Audits
None noted for the period.

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

Responses to Parliamentary Committees

Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

Report 1: Report on Afghanistan presented to the House during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament (Adopted by the Committee on February 10, 2009; Presented to the House on February 26, 2009; Concurred in by the House on October 5, 2009) Government Response: First Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on "Canada in Afghanistan" (findings contained in the Tenth Report of the Committee presented to the House during the Second Session of the 39th Parliament) (Presented to the House on September 14, 2009)

Report 5: Review of Key Elements of Canadian Foreign Policy (Adopted by the Committee on May 11, 2009; Presented to the House on May 14, 2009) Government Response: Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, "Canada and the Crisis in Sri Lanka" (Presented to the House on September 14, 2009)

Report 6: Canada-U.S. Relations: Old Challenges, New Opportunities (Adopted by the Committee on June 17, 2009; Presented to the House on June 19, 2009) Government Response: Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, Entitled "Canada-U.S. Relations: Old Challenges, New Opportunities" (Presented to the House on October 9, 2009)

Report 1: Situation at Rights & Democracy (Adopted by the Committee on June 15, 2010; Presented to the House on June 17, 2010) Government Response: To be tabled August 18

Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan

Report 2: Helping to Enhance the Afghan National Security Forces (Adopted by the Committee on June 11, 2009; Presented to the House on June 18, 2009) Government Response: Second Report of the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan, "Report on Canada's Priority Number One in Afghanistan: Helping to Enhance the Afghan National Security Forces" (Presented to the House on October 9, 2009)

Standing Committee on Public Accounts

Report 6: Chapter 3, "Human Resources Management - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada" of the May 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (Adopted by the Committee on March 16, 2010; Presented to the House on April 14, 2010) Government Response: To be tabled August 18

Standing Committee on National Defence

Report 3: Canada's Arctic Sovereignty (Adopted by the Committee on June 15, 2010; Presented to the House on June 17, 2010) Government Response: Lead not yet determined

External Audits

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
There were no OAG chapters issued in the period April 2009 to March 2010 in which DFAIT was audited.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
There were no audits conducted or audit reports issued by the Public Service Commission or Commissioner of Official Languages during the period of April 2009 to March 2010.

Department of Justice Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

No recommendations were received

Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Table: Response to Parliamentary Committees and to External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

No recommendations were issued by any Parliamentary Committees concerning the Agency for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

Response to the Auditor General of Canada, including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

The Agency was targeted by no Auditor General reports for Fiscal Year 2009-2010.

External Audits: these refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

The Agency was not the object of any external audit conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Environment Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
Not applicable
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

2009 Spring Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD)

Chapter 1: Protecting Fish Habitat

Summary: The audit examined how Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada carry out their respective responsibilities for fish habitat protection and pollution prevention under the Fisheries Act. It also looked at their arrangements with others, such as provinces and stakeholders that support the administration and enforcement of these provisions.

The audit found that Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada cannot demonstrate that fish habitat is being adequately protected, as the Fisheries Act requires. The audit found that Environment Canada has not clearly identified what it has to do to fulfill its responsibility for the Fisheries Act provisions and that it does not have a systematic approach to addressing risks of non-compliance with the Act. 

Department Response: The audit made five recommendations either to, or that included Environment Canada. The Department has accepted all the recommendations and action to address them has already been completed or is under way.

For more information on this audit, go to www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200905_01_e_32511.html

Chapter 2: Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act

Summary: The audit examined whether the Department can demonstrate that its annual climate change plans meet the requirements set out in the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA).

The audit found that the 2007 and 2008 climate change plans do not include all of the information required under the KPIA; the government could not demonstrate that reductions in emissions expected under the Regulatory Framework for Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions are based on an adequate rationale and the climate change plans overstate the emission reductions that can reasonably be expected from the Framework during the Kyoto period (2008–2012); the plans are not fully transparent as they do not disclose how expected reductions might be affected by such uncertain factors as future economic conditions; and while the Department has a system in place to report on Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, it has no system for reporting the actual emission reductions achieved from each measure in the annual climate change plans

Department Response: With the exception of the recommendation on the Regulatory Framework for Industrial Greenhouse GasEmissions, which is no longer applicable as the Framework is no longer a part of the climate change plan, the issues raised in the recommendations have been addressed in the report entitle A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (2010).

For more information on this audit, go to www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200905_02_e_32512.html#hd5c

2009 Fall Report of the CESD

Chapter 1: Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA)

Summary: The audit examined whether 12 federal entities, including Environment Canada, are applying key provisions of the CEAA and regulations with due regard to the purposes of the Act.

The audit made specific observations concerning the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency but generalized its findings relative to the other federal entities examined.

The audit found, in the case of screenings, that documentation supporting the determination of environmental effects is often weak, relying on checklists or generic statements, and providing limited or no analysis to demonstrate how effects were rated; and monitoring of mitigation measures and follow-up are insufficient. The audit also found that where there is more than one responsible authority, disputes about scope have caused serious delays, the Agency has not fully established a quality assurance program, and project files are maintained for most environmental assessments.

Department Response: The audit directed all recommendations to the Agency, to ensure that corrective actions would be directed to the whole federal community.
 
For more information on this audit, go to http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_e_33253.html

Chapter 2: Managing the Risks of Toxic Substances

Summary: The objective of this audit was to determine whether Environment Canada and Health Canada have put in place an adequate risk management regime for seven selected toxic substances—lead, mercury, bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate or DEHP, chlorobiphenyls or PCBs, dioxins and furans, dichloromethane, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs.

The audit found that although Environment Canada and Health Canada have implemented a number of control measures to manage the risks posed by lead and mercury, there are no consolidated risk management strategies for managing the overall risks of these substances and the two departments lacked a systematic process for periodically assessing overall progress made in managing the substances examined. The audit also noted that new biomonitoring initiatives are under way that address a significant gap identified by the CESD 2002 audit on toxic substances. Findings specific to Health Canada’s responsibilities for consumer product labelling were also made.

Department Response: The audit made three recommendations that include Environment Canada. The Department has accepted all the recommendations and action to address them is under way.

For more information on this audit, go to http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_e_33253.html

Chapter 3: National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI)

Summary: The focus of the audit was to determine whether Environment Canada has adequate quality assurance systems and practices in place for the NPRI, so that the Department is assured that the data in the NPRI is fit for the intended uses of its clients.

The audit found that while Environment Canada has carried out some activities to ensure that the data in the NPRI are relevant to the information’s intended purposes and users, it does not have a consistent approach to determining the information needs of users; and while it is working to improve data quality and make NPRI data accessible to users in a variety of ways on a timely basis, it does not have adequate systems and practices overall to ensure that NPRI data are fit for their intended uses.

Department Response: The audit made five recommendations to Environment Canada. The Department has accepted all the recommendations and actions to address the identified issues are already part of either current or planned initiatives to improve the NPRI.

For more information on this audit, go to http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_e_33253.html

Chapter 4: Environmental Petitions

Summary: This chapter informs Parliament and Canadians about the use of the petitions process and describes the number, nature and status of petitions received, and the timeliness of responses from ministers. Of the 28 petitions submitted in 2008–2009, 23 were addressed to Environment Canada. The Department’s responses were late in eight cases.

This is an annual statutory report and contains no audit work or formal recommendations.

For more information on this audit, go to http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_e_33253.html

2009 Fall Report of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG)

Chapter 1: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs

Summary: The objective of this audit was to determine whether selected departments and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) are meeting the needs for effectiveness evaluation and are identifying and making improvements in effectiveness evaluation.

The audit found that while the six selected departments followed systematic processes to plan their evaluations and completed most of them, each department’s evaluations covered a low proportion of its total program expenses; many of the effectiveness evaluations reviewed did not adequately assess program effectiveness, often in part because needed performance information was unavailable or not sufficiently reliable; and departments have not been able to hire enough qualified evaluation staff (due to a general shortage of experienced evaluators) and made extensive use of contractors to meet requirements. The audit also noted that that Environment Canada was the only department audited that has formal continuous improvement practices in place.

Department Response: The audit made two recommendations that included Environment Canada. The Department has accepted the recommendations and action to address them has already been completed or is under way.

For more information on this audit, go to http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_e_33252.html

Chapter 6: Land Management and Environmental Protection on Reserves

Summary: This audit focused on whether Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Environment Canada have met their responsibilities for land management on reserves, specifically with respect to transferring control of land management and providing essential environmental protection on reserve lands.

The audit found that while the federal government has the authority to regulate environmental threats on reserves, it has rarely used this authority to develop regulations to mitigate environmental threats that are regulated off reserves by provincial governments. Findings were also made that were specific to INAC’s responsibilities for monitoring and enforcing existing regulations, as well as for devolution.

Department Response: Two of the five recommendations contained in the audit included Environment Canada. The Department agreed with the recommendations, and action to address them is under way.

For more information on this audit, go to http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_e_33252.html

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

Audit of the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) and subsequent appointments through bridging mechanisms

Summary: The objective of the audit was to determine whether 11 selected federal organizations including Environment Canada complied with the legislative and policy framework when they hired students for the first time through the FSWEP and when they used bridging mechanisms to appoint graduates who were formerly hired as participants in this program. The audit also examined whether the organizations had an appropriate framework in place to plan and monitor bridging appointments.

The audit found that overall, FSWEP is operating reasonably well as a staffing tool but identified areas for improvement. The findings, which do not identify individual departments, indicated that of the FSWEP appointments analyzed, 43 percent were satisfactory, 51 percent needed improvement and 6 percent were unsatisfactory. The audit also analyzed bridging appointments and noted that 38 percent were satisfactory, 24 percent needed improvement and 38 percent were unsatisfactory. The audit also noted that for the period under review, bridging appointment files were poorly documented, audited organizations had not integrated bridging appointments into their human resources plans and few of them monitored selection and appointment decisions to ensure that they respected the legislative framework and appointment values.

Department Response: The audit made four recommendations to audited departments and agencies and one recommendation to TBS. EC agreed with the recommendations and action to address them is under way.

For more information on this audit, go to http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/rprt/2009/fswep-pfete/index-eng.htm


Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
During the reporting period, the Centre did not table any responses to Parliamentary Committee reports.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
During the reporting period, the Centre did not table any responses to the Auditor General.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

As part of the 2006 legislative amendments to the PCMLTFA, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) assumed oversight responsibility with respect to the measures FINTRAC employs to protect the information under its control. The Privacy Commissioner is obliged to conduct a review every two years and report the results of the reviews to Parliament. The first of these reviews was tabled in November 2009.

The report recognized FINTRAC's good work in protecting its information holdings as well as the Centre's strong physical and IT security infrastructures. In order to further strengthen its compliance with the Code of Fair Information Practices and following the audit, FINTRAC has been working on exploring solutions to address the recommendations from the OPC.

In addition, FINTRAC has taken steps to strengthen its privacy management structure, and a member of its Executive Committee has been appointed Chief Privacy Officer. The Chief Privacy Officer's role is to provide strategic privacy leadership, and to coordinate and oversee privacy related activities for the Centre.

A copy of the review can be found at http://www.priv.gc.ca/information/pub/ar-vr/ar-vr_fintrac_200910_e.cfm.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees


Seventh Report of the Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Controlling Canada's Arctic Waters: Role of the Canadian Coast Guard (December 2009 and April 2010)

The Committee tabled this report and requested a Government Response in December 2009. This request was cancelled following the prorogation of Parliament in January 2010. In order to receive a Government Response, the Committee re-tabled the report in April 2010.

Recommendations:
  1. That all foreign vessels that enter Canada's Arctic waters be required to report to NORDREG, regardless of vessel size or tonnage.
  2. That, as a precautionary measure at least in the interim period before the new naval Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) are built and deployed, the Government of Canada:
    1. arm Canada's Coast Guard icebreakers with deck weaponry capable of giving firm notice, if necessary, to unauthorized foreign vessels for use in the Northwest Passage; and
    2. provide on-board personnel from appropriate government agencies that have the authority to enforce Canadian domestic laws with small arms.
  3. That the Government of Canada proactively engage the United States in bilateral discussions to resolve their dispute over the Northwest Passage.
  4. That a Cabinet committee on Arctic affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister and comprising the Ministers of Indian and Northern Affairs, Fisheries and Oceans, National Defence, Environment Canada, Natural Resources, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Transport Canada, be created to further develop national Arctic policy, in cooperation with the three territorial governments, and to ensure that attention to northern issues and Arctic policy is maintained.
  5. That until the CP-140 Auroras are replaced by new patrol aircraft in 2020, the Government of Canada consider expanding maritime air surveillance in Canada's North either by increasing Canadian Forces capability or contracting specially equipped aircraft from the private sector.
  6. That the “Arctic Vision” include the notion of the Coast Guard, along with the Canadian Forces, having a year-round northern operation administered in the North to demonstrate that Canada is serious about protecting Canadian interests and the interests of Canada's northern residents.
  7. That Canada develop a long-term plan and provide the funding necessary for the acquisition of a suitable number of new multi-purpose polar icebreakers capable of operating year-round in its Arctic Archipelago and on the continental shelf.
  8. That the Canadian Coast Guard identify areas in the Arctic at high risk of a major cargo or oil spill, assess current response capabilities, and communicate the results of the assessment to Canada's northern communities. The Government of Canada should provide funding to train northern residents in the use of oil spill containment equipment for oil spills close to shore.
  9. That additional federal funding be provided to the Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary for the purchase of tangible assets directly related to the provision of search and rescue services.

Report:
Controlling Canada's Arctic Waters: Role of the Canadian Coast Guard

Government Response:
The Government Response will be tabled in October 2010.


Ninth Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Operation and Maintenance of Small Craft Harbours (Adopted by the Committee on December 8, 2009; Presented to the House on December 10, 2009)

Recommendations:

  1. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada update its estimate of the cost of bringing the core harbours to an acceptable state of repair.
  2. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada prepare a plan to bring the core harbours to an acceptable state of repair.
  3. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada incorporate a requirement for maintaining safe facilities when preparing its plan to bring the core harbours to an acceptable state of repair.
  4. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada ensure that there are adequate funds in both its operations and maintenance, and its capital budgets for recurrent dredging and related activities. The amount of this funding should take into consideration the increasingly stringent environmental standards and regulations that apply to these activities, especially with respect to the protection of the fish habitat.
  5. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada adopt a longer-term approach to solving dredging problems that could be addressed by permanent structures such as breakwaters.
  6. That, where there is a need to dredge beyond the harbour basin and the entrance channel for which the Small Craft Harbours Program is responsible, Fisheries and Oceans Canada coordinate with the authorities responsible for dredging these waterways to ensure safe access to the harbour at all times.
  7. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada help Harbour Authorities to recognize and respond to the local effects of climate change.
  8. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada analyze harbours scheduled for divestiture or decommissioning, with a view to identifying those that could remain in the department's inventory and be maintained because of their value as safe havens in case of bad weather conditions.
  9. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada assist Harbour Authorities with the development of short-term and long-term business plans as well as capitalization plans.
  10. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada assist Harbour Authorities in their efforts to raise funds from other sources, including federal, provincial, and private sources.
  11. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada assist and encourage Harbour Authorities to establish partnerships with local organizations where possible.
  12. That the limit on contract signing authority for Harbour Authorities managers be increased from $40,000 to $200,000 for minor capital and repair projects, and that, where possible, priority be given to hiring local enterprises to do the approved work.
  13. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada streamline the review and approval process of Small Craft Harbours projects to ensure that projects be approved, announced, and tendered by June 1st, where possible, and
  14. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada provide clear and transparent accounting of funds related to project costs and administrative costs associated with the department or Public Works and Government Services Canada.
  15. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada review and modernize the Fishing and Recreational Harbours Act and its regulations to reflect the current management reality of small craft harbours. In particular, definitions of “Harbour Authority,” “derelict,” and “harbour manager” should be included or updated.
  16. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada consider legislative changes to facilitate the removal of abandoned and derelict vessels from its harbours.
  17. That the Government of Canada honour in a timely manner its financial commitments to undertake environmental remediation projects needed prior to harbour divestiture.
  18. That the Government of Canada recognize the heritage and cultural attributes of fishing harbours as well as their tourism and economic value, and
  19. That the Government of Canada allow Harbour Authorities to be eligible to receive financial support from federal economic development agencies for projects intended to take advantage of those attributes.
  20. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada review the mandate of the Small Craft Harbours Program to acknowledge that, while it primarily provides harbours that are open, safe and in good repair for the commercial fishing industry, harbours are used and managed for other purposes, including those of recreational and Aboriginal fisheries, commercial sport fishing and emerging sectors such as aquaculture.
  21. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada facilitate access to federal non-DFO wharves through interdepartmental agreements when local harbour users identify a need that cannot be otherwise accommodated by the neighbouring Small Craft Harbours infrastructure.
  22. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada work with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to improve their coordination in establishing and maintaining harbour facilities in Aboriginal communities.
  23. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirm its objective to construct all the harbours identified for small communities in Nunavut.
  24. That the Department review the assessment of harbour needs for communities such as Arctic Bay, Grise Fjord and Resolute.

Report:
Small Craft Harbours: An Essential Infrastructure Managed By and For Fishing Communities

Government Response:
Government of Canada Response to the Report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans: Small Craft Harbours: An Essential Infrastructure Managed By And For Fishing Communities


Sixth Report of Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Proposed Changes to the Convention of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) (November 2009)

Recommendation:
In light of the new Convention's potential to affect Canada's Atlantic fisheries and coastal communities for many generations to come, the committee asks that the government delay any immediate moves toward ratification and take the time to review the new agreement with the greatest care.

Report:
The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans

Government Response:
No Government Response requested


Eighth Report of House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Amendments to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Convention (Adopted by the Committee on November 17, 2009; Presented to the House on November 18, 2009; Concurred in by the House on December 10, 2009)

Recommendation:
That, notwithstanding the motion adopted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on October 8, 2009 and given the evidence heard by the Committee in March and May 2009 as well as the serious concerns expressed by various witnesses during hearings in October 2009, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada not ratify the Amendment to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries adopted by the General Council of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in 2007, and that Canada notify NAFO of its objection to the amendment as per Article XXI of the Convention.

Report:
House of Commons - Eighth Report

Government Response:
No Government Response requested


Seventh Report of House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Amendments to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Convention(Adopted by the Committee on October 8, 2009; Presented to the House on October 19, 2009)

Recommendation:
Given the evidence heard by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans at hearings in March, May and October 2009, and the serious concerns recently expressed by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Committee recommends that the Government of Canada not ratify the amendment to the Convention on future multilateral cooperation in the northwest altantic fisheries adopted by the General Council of the Northwest Fisheries Atlantic Organization (NAFO) in 2007, until the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has had an additional twenty-one (21) sitting days to study the matter further and to report the results of that study to the House.

Report:
House of Commons - Seventh Report

Government Response:
No Government Response requested


Sixth Report of House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Atlantic Lobster Fishery (Adopted by the Committee on June 16, 2009; Presented to the House on June 18, 2009)

Recommendations:

  1. That the Government of Canada explore in cooperation with the lobster industry all the options to provide the industry bridge financing or loan guarantees that they need to get through the current global economic and financial crisis.
  2. That the Government of Canada encourage Export Development Canada to provide insurance on receivables to processors that export lobster products abroad.
  3. That Export Development Canada provide a report to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans on its fishing industry portfolio.
  4. That the Government of Canada develop initiatives to increase access to credit for fishermen and fishing enterprises, as well as encourage private lenders to ease credit restrictions on the fishing sector.
  5. That the Government of Canada increase the visibility of existing specific federal financing programs for which fishermen are eligible, and that Fisheries and Oceans Canada play a coordinating role in that respect.
  6. That the Government of Canada in partnership with the lobster industry explore the idea of some form of income support for lobster fishermen to address immediate concerns.
  7. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada provide assistance to the lobster fishermen to reduce their costs. The review of the fishery licence fee structure should be expedited.
  8. That the Government of Canada, in partnership with all provincial governments and industry representatives encourage the creation of an Atlantic-wide multi-stakeholder marketing research and advertising council to promote Canadian lobster domestically and abroad.
  9. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada in partnership with the lobster industry explore the idea of a Canadian certification system for fishery products that would comply with the internationally established management guidelines on responsible fisheries.
  10. That Fisheries and Oceans Canada support the efforts of the lobster industry to obtain and maintain the international certification of their fishery for sustainable management.
  11. That the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the governments of the Atlantic Provinces and Québec, support an industry-led rationalization plan for the Canadian lobster fishery (publicly-funded where appropriate) that must take into account regional needs and requirements.

Report:
The Canadian Lobster Fishery: Trapped in a Perfect Storm

Government Response:
Government of Canada Response to the Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans: The Canadian Lobster Fishery: Trapped in a Perfect Storm


Fifth Report of Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Crisis in the Lobster Fishery (June 2009)

Recommendations:

  1. That the Government of Canada act immediately to implement changes to the Employment Insurance program to address the problems created by low lobster prices specifically by: (a) allowing fish harvesters to qualify for EI benefits based on 2008 earnings; and (b) extending EI fishing benefits by five weeks.
  2. That the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans immediately enter into formal discussions with Atlantic fish harvester organizations and the provincial governments to develop a short-term assistance plan for the fishery.
  3. Further recommends a comprehensive plan for the lobster fishery, including voluntary fleet rationalization to reduce fishing capacity where needed. The federal government should contribute to the costs of removing lobster licences from the fishery.

Report:
The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans - Fifth Report

Government Response:
No Government Response requested


Fourth Report of Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Nunavut Marine Fisheries: Quotas and Harbours (June 2009)

Recommendations:

  1. That the Government of Canada move forward to develop and implement, in collaboration with the Government of Nunavut, the harbour development plan recommended by the DFO–Nunavut Harbours Working Committee in its 2005 Nunavut Small Craft Harbours Report.
  2. That the Department of Fisheries and Oceans continue to assign 100% of the NAFO Division 0A turbot allocation to Nunavut.
  3. That, in NAFO Division 0B, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans continue its policy that no new access to 0B turbot be given to non-Nunavut interests until Nunavut has achieved a level of access to adjacent marine resources comparable to levels of access enjoyed by other coastal jurisdictions in their adjacent fisheries.
  4. That the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans put in place a policy giving Nunavut stakeholders the right of first refusal to purchase, at a competitive rate, all fishery quotas in Nunavut's adjacent waters that are transferred or sold.
  5. That, as a general principle, Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, as an indispensable complement to scientific knowledge, always be given full consideration in fisheries decision-making.
  6. That, with respect to the Eastmain-1-A and Rupert Diversion Project, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans indicate when and how the research and monitoring program outlined by the 2006 Federal Review Panel in Recommendation 34 will be implemented.
  7. That the Department of Fisheries and Oceans substantially increase its funding for exploratory research in Nunavut's adjacent waters, and that it commit to a multi-year, multi-species research program.
  8. That the Department of Fisheries and Oceans assess the impact of all vessel activity on whales and in concert with the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, develop protective management measures, such as vessel exclusion zones at certain times of the year.

Report:
Nunavut Marine Fisheries: Quotas and Harbours

Government Response:
Government of Canada Response to the Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans: Nunavut Marine Fisheries: Quotas and Harbours


Fifth Report of House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
Atlantic Lobster Fishery (Adopted by the Committee on May 7, 2009; Presented to the House on May 13, 2009)

Recommendation:
That the government restore full funding to the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation to enable this organisation and its partners to pursue its mission to make available to the fishing industry the largest and best equipped body of experts in fisheries-related science and technology in the country for the benefit of the industry's long-term competitiveness and sustainability.

Report:
House of Commons - Fifth Report

Government Response:
No Government Response requested


Fourth Report of House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans:
European Legislative Actions regarding the Canadian Seal Harvest (Adopted by the Committee on May 5, 2009; Presented to the House on May 6, 2009; Concurred in by the House on May 11, 2009)

Recommendation:
The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans fully endorses the harp seal hunt, it approves of current regulated killing methods, approves that the harvesting of harp seals is fully acceptable and that the Canadian harp seal hunt is humane, responsible and sustainable and should continue for generations to come and the Committee strongly condemns the ban of Canadian seal products by the European Union.

Report:
House of Commons - Fourth Report

Government Response:
No Government Response requested


Second Report of Senate Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans: Rising to the Arctic Challenge:
Report on the Canadian Coast Guard (May 2009)

Recommendations:

  1. That Canada uphold its position that the waters of the Northwest Passage are its internal waters, and that Canada should be prepared to defend any legal challenge.
  2. That Canada develop a much stronger year-round, national presence and enforcement capability to show the world that Canada is serious about controlling the Northwest Passage, protecting Canadian interests and Canada's northern residents, and making the waterway a safe and efficient shipping route.
  3. That the Government of Canada consider Goose Bay, Labrador, as a sub-Arctic staging area for the coordination and support of Coast Guard, fisheries, search and rescue, surveillance and other Arctic activities.
  4. That the Nunavut Marine Council (Part 4, Article 15.4.1 of the 2003 Nunavut Land Claims Agreement) be created as a forum for priority setting and planning, and as a practical means to enhance Canada's sovereignty in marine areas.
  5. That Canada assume a leadership role in promoting international cooperation on: (a) issues relating to continental shelf claims; and (b) the development of a mandatory common code relating to the construction, manning and equipment of all vessels operating in the Arctic Ocean equal to Canada's domestic standards.
  6. That Canada demonstrate its commitment to international cooperation within the Arctic Council by re-establishing the position of Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs (which was eliminated in 2006).
  7. That the Department of National Defence make the Canadian Rangers an integral part of the Canadian reserves and provide them with marine capability.
  8. That the Government of Canada establish an Arctic Strategy Advisory Committee, led by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, to monitor and to advise in the development and implementation of an effective and integrated strategy for the North. The new Arctic Strategy Advisory Committee should comprise representatives from the federal government departments and agencies with a mandate in the Arctic, with particular emphasis on the Coast Guard, the various Aboriginal/Inuit groups in the region, and the three territorial governments.
  9. That Inuit, with their unique knowledge of the region, be recruited for the Coast Guard whenever possible.
  10. That the Coast Guard, as the expert agency on the maritime situation facing Canada in the Arctic, formulate and implement a long-term strategic vision to guide it for the future.
  11. That NORDREG, Canada's current voluntary vessel traffic system in the Arctic, be made compulsory. All foreign ships that enter Canada's Arctic waters should be required to register with NORDREG, regardless of vessel size.
  12. That the federal government amend the definition of Arctic waters in the Arctic Waters Pollution Prevention Act to include the waters beyond the Arctic Archipelago to the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone, which is the case with other Canadian legislation, such as the Oceans Act and the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.
  13. That Canada develop a long-term plan for the acquisition of new multi-purpose heavy icebreakers “made-in-Canada” and capable of operating year-round in its Arctic Archipelago and on the continental shelf as part of an integrated approach to vessel procurement recognizing the complementarity of Coast Guard and naval vessels.
  14. The committee recommends the deployment of multi-mission polar icebreakers operated by the Coast Guard as a cost-effective solution to Canada's surveillance and sovereignty patrol needs in the Arctic.

Report:
Second Report

Government Response:
Government of Canada Response to the Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans: Rising to the Arctic Challenge: Report on the Canadian Coast Guard


Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Chapter 2-Intellectual Property

2009 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada
The OAG audit looked at how intellectual property is managed in three federal science-based organizations-the National Research Council Canada, Health Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We examined to what extent they comply with federal policy in managing intellectual property that arises in the course of contracted activities and how adequately they manage intellectual property generated by their own employees.

Externally generated intellectual property

Recommendation:
2.39 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should ensure that they accurately identify the intellectual property expected to result from their Crown procurement contracts and ensure that the intellectual property is accurately reported.

Response:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees with the recommendation. Over the next 6 to 12 months, the Department will ensure that intellectual property generated through Crown procurement contracts is identified, accurately recorded in the Department's financial system, and reported to central agencies. The Department will ensure that intellectual property is properly identified in all contract documents.

Recommendation:
2.41 When the Crown takes ownership of the intellectual property produced as the result of a contract, Fisheries and Oceans Canada should justify this decision using the exceptions provided for in, and required by, the Policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts.

Response:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees with the recommendation. The Department will fully support and record all intellectual property ownership decisions. Over the next 6 to 12 months, the Department will implement measures to ensure that where it wishes to invoke one or more exceptions toward claiming Crown ownership of intellectual property arising under Crown procurement contracts, it will state and justify the exceptions as per the Treasury Board of Canada Policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts.

Recommendation:
2.48 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should state in both the documents soliciting bids and in the contract itself who will own the intellectual property, including the exception invoked when the Crown decides to take ownership of the intellectual property expected to result from the Crown procurement contract. These departments should also ensure that the Crown's ownership and/or licensing rights are protected in sub-contracts where applicable.

Response:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees with the recommendation. The Department will implement measures, over the next 6 to 12 months, to ensure the following:

  • Documents soliciting bids and corresponding procurement
  • Contracts state whether intellectual property arising under contracts will be vested in the Crown or owned by the contractor, to ensure that the Crown's ownership and licensing rights are protected.
  • In cases where the Crown elects to own the intellectual property, these exceptions will be set out in those documents and recorded in the Department's financial system for reporting purposes. The Project Authority of these contracts will also ensure protection of this Crown-owned intellectual property.
  • Crown ownership and/or licensing rights are protected/secured in subcontracts, where applicable.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will include standardized intellectual property clauses in all procurement contracts.


Internally generated intellectual property

Recommendation:
2.54 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop and approve a department-wide intellectual property policy, including guidelines for licensing and commercializing intellectual property.

Response:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees with the recommendation. The Department has created a working group to expedite the development of a Fisheries and Oceans Canada intellectual property policy for managing, licensing, and commercializing intellectual property. Guidelines supporting implementation of the policy will also be developed. The policy and the guidelines should be completed in the 2009–10 fiscal year.

Recommendation:
2.60 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should establish a mechanism to ensure that inventions are adequately identified and disclosed.

Response:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees with the recommendation. It will develop a departmental intellectual property policy that will include measures to identify and disclose inventions and other intellectual property arising from Crown procurement contracts that it awards or that are awarded by Public Works and Government Services Canada on its behalf. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will develop guidelines consistent with its intellectual property policy, which will incorporate measures to ensure that in-house inventions and other intellectual property are adequately identified and disclosed. It will implement the guidelines immediately following their approval, and ensure that they are understood by all managers. As the policy and guidelines will be completed in 2009–10, implementation will be initiated subsequently.

Recommendation:
2.63 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should ensure that Crown-owned copyright material that has potential intellectual property value is properly disclosed.

Response:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada agrees with the recommendation. It will ensure that mechanisms are developed to ensure that Crown-owned copyright assets that have potential value can be properly disclosed. The Department's Canadian Hydrographic Service data and data products are disclosed automatically upon incorporation in data management systems that are used by the Canadian Hydrographic Service to process the data and create data products.

The Department intends, over the next 6 to 12 months, to raise awareness among staff of the potential value of intellectual property associated with scientific papers, including software and data products that are subject to copyright and technology that might be disclosed therein.

It is believed that enhanced awareness among staff on the potential value of intellectual property will substantially contribute to addressing the recommendation as staff would generally be better informed and more cautious about publishing any copyright material that might jeopardize the commercialization of the copyright material or of any invention described therein.


Chapter 3-Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings

2009 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada
The Office of the Auditor General assessed whether departments were planning for fire emergencies in compliance with key requirements of the Treasury Board Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization (the Standard), including conducting required fire drills. In addition, we looked at the activities of Fire Protection Services (formerly called the Fire Commissioner of Canada), the division within HRSDC's Labour Program responsible for administering and enforcing this Standard. We also looked at the role of the Labour Program's regional and district offices in reviewing fire safety plans for buildings occupied by the federal government.

Fire safety planning and fire emergency organization

Recommendation:
3.80 Departments should ensure that fire safety plans are prepared and administered in accordance with established federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards.

Response:
The Department agrees with this recommendation.
We duly noted the audit results and comments previously provided by the OAG concerning the preparation and administration of fire safety plans and we have taken measures to ensure that we comply with all established legislation, policies, and standards by 31 December 2009.

Recommendation:
3.88 Departments should ensure that all evacuation drills are held as required by federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards.

Response:
The Department agrees with this recommendation.
We duly noted the audit results and comments previously provided by the OAG concerning the requirement to hold various types of evacuation drills in accordance with the legislation, policies, and standards, and we have taken measures to ensure full compliance by 30 June 2009.

Recommendation:
3.93 Departments should ensure that building fire emergency organizations are established and administered as required by federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards.

Response:
The Department agrees with this recommendation.
We duly noted the audit results and comments previously provided by the OAG concerning the establishment and administration of building fire emergency organizations, and corrective measures have been implemented to comply with all applicable legislation, policies, and standards as of the first quarter of 2009.


Chapter 1-Protecting Fish Habitat

2009 Spring Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development examined how both Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada carry out their respective responsibilities for fish habitat protection and pollution prevention under the Fisheries Act. We also looked at their arrangements with others, such as provinces and stakeholders, that support the administration and enforcement of these provisions. In addition, we looked at Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Environmental Process Modernization Plan (EPMP), its continuous improvement plan introduced in 2004.

Recommendation:
1.33 In order to make consistent decisions on project referrals, in accordance with departmental expectations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada should ensure that an appropriate risk-based quality assurance system is in place for the review of these decisions.

Response:
The Department accepts this recommendation. Over the past number of years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has made efforts to improve the quality, consistency, and transparency of its decision making by implementing the Risk Management Framework. Although much progress has been made, the Department recognizes that there is still much work to be done with respect to documentation standards. With that in mind, by 31 March 2010, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will implement a risk-based quality assurance system to verify that documentation standards are being applied consistently by staff.

Recommendation:
1.41 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should accelerate the implementation of its Habitat Compliance Decision Framework to ensure that there is an adequate risk-based approach to monitoring projects and providing assurance that proponents are complying with the Fisheries Act and all terms and conditions of departmental decisions. The Department should also determine whether the required mitigation measures and compensation are effective in meeting the no net loss principle.

Response:
The Department accepts this recommendation. Fisheries and Oceans Canada currently applies a risk-based approach, but recognizes that opportunities for improvement remain. Once the Habitat Compliance Modernization initiative is fully implemented, the Department will be able to provide better assurance that proponents are complying with the terms and conditions of the Department's decisions. Considering this, the Department commits to fully implement the Habitat Compliance Decision Framework and report on results of project monitoring activities by 31 March 2010 and annually thereafter.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will continue to work with proponents to design and implement follow-up monitoring studies. Between now and the end of 2011, the Department will review and develop standard scientific methodologies to examine the effectiveness of compensation in achieving the no net loss guiding principle so that these methodologies can be used by proponents when designing monitoring studies.

Recommendation:
1.48 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should ensure that its enforcement quality assurance and control processes are sufficient to demonstrate that its actions have been taken in accordance with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy. The Department should provide guidance on the type of complaints that fishery officers should respond to and take action on, and the Department should specify minimum documentation requirements for occurrences.

Response:
The Department accepts this recommendation and, by 31 August 2010, will establish, disseminate, and communicate to regions an operational protocol to ensure better documentation of enforcement actions and monitoring of activities to ensure consistency with the Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
Guidance on the nature of complaints that warrant the attention of fishery officers has also been identified as a need by the Department. By 31 March 2011, the Department will examine the process currently in use and, by 31 March 2012, the Department will examine the Habitat Compliance Decision Framework to improve its guidance to staff, clarify documentation protocols, and establish minimum documentation standards for occurrences.

Recommendation:
1.69 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should clarify the parts of the Habitat Management Program that it will continue to administer, the extent that it wants others to deliver the program on its behalf, and the resource implications. The Department should also assess whether accountability mechanisms in all of its existing agreements are working effectively enough to report and assess the results achieved through its collaboration with others. In addition, it should review the agreements to ensure that they are aligned with its view of the long-term goals of the Habitat Management Program.

Response:
The Department accepts this recommendation and, by 31 March 2011, will have reviewed and evaluated its memoranda of understanding with provinces and territories. The Department will continue to work with its partners to strengthen the governance and accountability mechanisms and ensure that the partnership arrangements are aligned with the Department's goals and its strategic vision.

Recommendation:
1.74 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop habitat indicators to apply in ecosystems with significant human activity. The Department should use these indicators to assess whether it is making progress on the Habitat Policy's long-term objective to achieve an overall net gain in fish habitat.

Response:
The Department accepts and agrees with this recommendation and is committed to moving toward an ecosystems approach and the increased use of biological indicators, particularly in areas of significant human activity. However, this task is far from trivial as it will require significant new scientific understanding to ensure that the indicators adopted do in fact tell us what we need to know about the health of the aquatic ecosystem.

Recommendation:
1.80 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should determine what actions are required to fully implement the 1986 Habitat Policy and confirm whether it intends to implement all aspects of the Policy.

Response:
The Department accepts this recommendation and, by March 2010, will determine what actions are required to fully implement the Habitat Policy.

Recommendation:
1.134 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, with the support of Environment Canada, should clearly establish the expectations for Environment Canada's administration of the pollution prevention provisions, including the expected interactions between the two departments to support the delivery of the 1986 Habitat Policy.

Response:
The Department accepts this recommendation and, by March 31, 2011, will review the administration of section 36 of the Fisheries Act. By March 31, 2012, a renewed Memorandum of Understanding that better establishes expectations and responsibilities for Environment Canada will be in place.


Chapter 1-Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs

2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada
The Office of the Auditor General examined how evaluation units in six departments identify and respond to the various needs for effectiveness evaluations. They also looked at whether they have built the required capacity to respond to those needs. In addition, they looked at the oversight and support role of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in monitoring and improving the evaluation function in the government, specifically with respect to effectiveness evaluations. The period covered by their audit was 2004 to 2009.

Recommendation:
1.37 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should develop and implement action plans to ensure that ongoing program performance information is collected to support effectiveness evaluation.

Response:
Agreed. The Department's performance measurement framework links its core indicators to the departmental program activity architecture (PAA), thus identifying performance measures for all program activities and sub-activities. Each fiscal year, the Department conducts an analysis of the state of performance measurement in the Department and provides an annual report to the Departmental Evaluation Committee. In addition, the Department will develop and implement an action plan to ensure that ongoing program performance information is collected to support effectiveness evaluation by the end of August 2010.

Recommendation:
1.43 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should consider the merits of including external experts on their departmental evaluation committees. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat should provide guidance to departments in this regard.

Response:
Agreed. The Department will consider the merit of including external members on its department evaluation committee, in the context of guidance provided by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.

Recommendation:
1.48 Fisheries and Oceans Canada should implement systematic processes to determine whether their effectiveness evaluations are meeting government-wide requirements and internal corporate needs, and act on areas identified for improvement. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat should monitor and provide any additional support it considers necessary for the implementation of these processes.

Response:
Agreed. The recommendation echoes the intent of the 2009 Policy on Evaluation. As such, actions are already under way within the Department to implement a systematic process to determine whether effectiveness evaluations are meeting internal corporate needs and government-wide needs (i.e., a strategic review) and to act on areas identified for improvement. Further work in this area will be completed in the context of guidance provided by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.


Annual Report on Environmental Petitions

2009 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
The chapter describes the nature of environmental petitions and the extent to which some of them may have influenced the federal management of environmental issues in Canada. In fulfillment of statutory obligations contained in the Auditor General Act, the chapter contains an annual report to Parliament on the nature and status of petitions.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada responded to 11 petitions this year. There was one late notification sent but no responses were late.


External Audits

Office of the Comptroller General Horizontal Internal Audit of Corporate Risk Profiles in Large Departments and Agencies

Horizontal Internal Audit of Corporate Risk Profiles in Large Departments and Agencies
The objective of the audit was to determine whether systems and practices related to the development of Corporate Risk Profiles (CRPs) are in place to ensure strategies exist to identify and mitigate risks within the operations of (LDAs).
Although the audit did not find particular weaknesses in Fisheries and Oceans Canada related to the other recommendations found in the audit report, the department should consider whether other management action plans are required.

Recommendation:
LDAs should ensure that their process used to identify risks integrates regional risks with organizational risks, and identifies external risks as well. This process should be formalized in their risk scanning tools such as environmental scans.

Response:
The 2009-10 CRP will contain external risks. External risk scanning is now integrated in DFO's IRM handbook as a standard element. DFO is in the process of formalizing an environmental scan that informs the corporate risk profile.

Recommendation:
LDAs should define, document, and communicate their definitions of risk tolerance

Response:
The 2009-10 Corporate Risk Profile will define and communicate risk tolerance.

Recommendation:
LDAs should integrate risk management into the Departmental Performance Report to ensure reporting against the Corporate Risk Profile's effectiveness.

Response:
This will be addressed as part of the updating of integrated risk management tool kit that should be in place by the end of 2009-10. This will include the IRM cycle process, an updated IRM Policy Guidelines, and Handbook; all to be posted on the website.


Office of the Comptroller General Horizontal Internal Audit of High Risk Expenditure Controls in Large Departments and Agencies

Horizontal Internal Audit of High Risk Expenditure Controls in Large Departments and Agencies
The objective of the audit was to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of processes in place to identify higher-risk transactions that enable more efficient account verification practices. We examined the risk management over expenditure controls and the practices currently in place in a sample of eighteen LDAs in order to conclude on whether or not expenditure management was being carried out in a cost-effective and efficient manner, while also maintaining the required level of control.

Recommendation:
LDAs should ensure that high versus low risk payment types are identified and determine whether verification procedures are consistent with resulting risk principles

Response:
High/low risk payments and the level of verification/quality assurance review per payment stream were identified through consultation with regional and national Finance staff including officers, managers and directors, and Ernst & Young. The risk identification of payment streams and the quality review procedures will be re-evaluated in the 3rd quarter of 2010-11 based on 12 months of results.

Recommendation:
LDAs need to develop rigorous sampling plans to monitor the verification process of low risk payments. These should be national in scope and allow for the collection of results indicating systemic errors, best practices, and monitoring of appropriate risk identification.

Response:
A departmental Quality Assurance of Account Verification program including system generated reports on results has been developed, piloted in 3 regions and targeted for full implementation on September 30, 2009. A review of the random-sampling plan will be re-evaluated in the 3rd quarter of 2010-11 based on 12 months of results.

Recommendation:
LDAs should develop clear guidance for those providing quality assurances over account verification that stipulates the risk identification of high versus low risk payment types. LDAs should consider using checklists outlining verification procedures based on risk type or other measures.

Response:
The departmental Quality Assurance of Account Verification program including policy, guidelines, checklists and procedures is available on a national shared drive, to Finance staff involved in the quality assurance process.

Recommendation:
LDAs should establish the reporting requirements for the governance function over expenditure management in order to discharge their responsibilities in a robust, timely, and comprehensive manner. Those responsible for quality assurance need to develop reports to meet these needs and prepare and present them in a periodic manner.

Response:
Semi-annual reporting to the CFO, Departmental Management Committee, and Finance Sub-Committee will include a summary of errors by organizational structure and spending streams, analysis of risk and tolerance levels, and recommendations on modifications to the quality assurance program and remedial plans where necessary.

Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Health Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
Nil
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
2009 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 1-Gender-Based Analysis

Summary:
Gender-based analysis (GBA) is an analytical tool that can be used to assess how the impact of policies and programs on women might differ from their impact on men. GBA is intended to allow for gender differences to be integrated in the policy analysis process. The audit looked at seven departments whose responsibilities can impact men and women differently-The Department of Finance Canada, Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Department of Justice Canada, Transport Canada, and Veterans Affairs. The audit examined whether the selected departments had established a framework to support GBA and had reported the results of their analyses in Treasury Board submissions and memoranda to Cabinet. It is found that while some of the departments are making efforts to improve their GBA practices, few of those that are performing GBA can provide evidence that demonstrates these analyses are used in designing public policy. The audit listed four recommendations to central agencies and Status of Women Canada. There was no recommendation made directly to Health Canada.

For further information on this audit, please visit:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_01_e_32514.html

Chapter 2-Intellectual Property

Summary:
Intellectual property includes rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary, or artistic fields and is a strategic asset that can help the federal government better serve the interests of Canadians. This audit examined whether selected federal entities can demonstrate that they manage Crown intellectual property assets effectively. It was found that nearly twenty years after the federal government decentralized the management of intellectual property to federal entities, the mixture of legislation and policies governing it has resulted in a variety of management practices, some of which are inadequate. The audit listed eight recommendations and six were addressed to Health Canada.

Departmental Response:
Health Canada agrees with the recommendations of the Auditor General of Canada.

For further information on this audit, please visit:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_02_e_32515.html

2009 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 4-Electronic Health Records

Summary:
Canada Health Infoway Inc. (Infoway) was created in 2001 as a federally funded, not-for-profit corporation to accelerate the development of health information and communication technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth and public health surveillance systems on a pan-Canadian basis. Health Canada's role as the federal signatory on the funding agreements with Infoway, is to ensure compliance with the provisions contained in these agreements. The audit examined how Infoway manages funds from the federal government to achieve its goal of making compatible electronic health records available across Canada. In addition, the audit looked at the role of Health Canada, the sponsoring department, in ensuring that Infoway complies with the agreements under which it receives funding from the Department. Overall, the audit found that Infoway has accomplished much in the eight years since its creation and that it is exercising due regard in managing funds from the federal government to achieve its goal related to the implementation of EHRs across Canada. The examination showed that Infoway has set a good foundation for the work it is doing by applying appropriate governance mechanisms to carry out its mandate and objectives. Infoway has set a goal for the EHR initiative, but it could be more clearly defined. Infoway also has implemented appropriate management controls for operational spending, although controls for contracting for goods and services need to be strengthened. The audit listed nine recommendations, one of which applied to Health Canada.

Departmental Response:
Health Canada agrees with the recommendation of the Auditor General of Canada.

For further information on this audit, please visit:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_04_e_33205.html

2009 November Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Chapter 2-Risks of Toxic Substances

Summary:
Canadians use many types of chemical substances that have become omnipresent in modern society. When released into the air, water, or land, however, some of these substances can threaten human health and ecosystems. The federal government plays an important role in managing chemicals that pose a risk to the environment and human health. The primary regulatory vehicle is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, that deals with assessing existing and new substances and managing the risks of substances that could be harmful to human health and the environment. The Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health jointly administer the task of assessing and managing the risks associated with toxic substances. The objective of this audit was to determine whether Environment Canada and Health Canada have implemented an adequate risk management regime for selected toxic substances. It was found that Environment Canada and Health Canada have implemented a number of control measures to manage the risks posed by lead and mercury and have also developed strategies for managing risks related to consumer products that may contain these substances. However, there is no consolidated risk management strategy for either substance that compiles the federal government's objectives and priorities for managing the risks. Also, Environment Canada and Health Canada are assessing the performance of a number of the control measures that have been implemented for the substances examined, and they are taking steps to keep their knowledge of risks up-to-date. However, the departments lack a systematic process for periodically assessing progress made in managing the risks. The audit listed three recommendations, two of which apply to Health Canada.

Departmental Response:
Health Canada agrees with the recommendations of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development.

For further information on this audit, please visit:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_02_e_33197.html
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
2009 October - Public Service Commission of Canada

Audit of Health Canada

Summary:
The audit objectives were to determine whether Health Canada has an appropriate framework, systems and practices in place to manage its appointment activities, and whether its appointment processes comply with the Public Service Employment Act, other governing authorities and policies, and the instrument of delegation signed with the Public Service Commission (PSC). The PSC found that Health Canada has in place most of the elements of a framework to manage its appointment activities. The audit listed three recommendations for improvement.

Departmental Response:
Health Canada agrees with the recommendations of the Public Service Commission of Canada.

For further information on this audit, please visit:
http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/rprt/2009/ahc-vsc/ahc-vsc-eng.pdf (PDF Version - 271,5 K)

Human Resources and Skills Development

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

The HRSDC portfolio tabled four Government Responses to parliamentary committee reports between April 1, 2009 and March 31, 2010.

  1. Report 3 – Moving Forward on the Pay Equity Task Force Recommendations
    • Adopted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO) on February 10, 2009; tabled in the House on March 25, 2009.
    • Government Response was tabled on August 19, 2009

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4017744&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

  2. Final Report: Canada’s Aging Population: Seizing the Opportunity
    • Adopted by the Senate Special Committee on Aging on March 23, 2009; tabled in the Senate on April 21, 2010; and, adopted by the Senate on May 7, 2009.
    • Government Response was tabled in the Senate on October 1, 2009.

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/Committee_SenRep.asp?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=2&comm_id=600

  3. Report 6 – Consequences and Effects of the Current EI (EI) Programs Have on Women in Canada
    • Adopted by the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO) on May 14, 2009; tabled in the House on June 9, 2009.
    • Government Response was tabled on October 7, 2009

    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4130941&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2

  4. Early Childhood Education and Care: Next Steps
    • Adopted by the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology on March 25, 2009; tabled in the Senate on April 28, 2009; adopted by the Senate on June 22, 2009.
    • Government Response was tabled on November 19, 2009.

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/Committee_SenRep.asp?Language=E&Parl=40&Ses=2&comm_id=47

 

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Auditor General’s 2009 Spring Report – Chapter 1
Gender-Based Analysis

Objective: The objective of this audit was to determine whether selected departments whose responsibilities can impact men and women differently, can provide evidence that they are conducting, and the central agencies can provide evidence that they are reviewing, gender-based analyses to adequately support decision making on policy and program spending initiatives.

Gender-based analysis is an analytical tool that can be used to assess how the impact of policies and programs on women might differ from their impact on men.

The audit noted that HRSDC was one of the four departments that had taken measures to implement gender-based analyses. It further recognized that the Department’s relocation of its Gender-Based Analysis unit within the Strategic Policy and Research Branch, allows the Unit to exercise a challenge role through the Department’s policy and planning committees. The chapter notes that the Gender-Based Analysis Unit has staff and tools to help employees perform gender-based analyses; it provides training publicized in various ways, and is rebuilding the advisers’ network.

The audit can be found at:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_01_e_32514.html#hd5e

Auditor General’s 2009 Fall Report – Chapter 1
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Programs

Objective: The overall objective of this audit was to determine whether selected departments and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat are meeting the needs for effectiveness evaluation and are identifying and making improvements in effectiveness evaluation.

The audit found that HRSDC and the five other departments examined, followed systematic processes to plan their effectiveness evaluations. As well, most planned evaluations were completed. The audit further noted that the evaluations conducted by the six departments only covered a small proportion of overall departmental expenses, and most of the evaluations examined were hampered by inadequate data. The audit concluded that improvements are required in the departments, and in the oversight and support activities of Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, in order to remedy the situation.

Four of the chapter’s seven recommendations are jointly directed at HRSDC and four other audited departments. The Department accepts the chapter’s recommendations and has developed a robust management action plan to address the observations made in the report.

The government’s response can be found at:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_01_e_33202.html#hd5a

Auditor General’s 2009 Fall Report – Chapter 2
Selecting Foreign Workers Under the Immigration Program

Objective: The objective of this audit was to determine whether Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) efficiently and effectively handle program planning and delivery to facilitate the entry of permanent and temporary foreign workers into Canada. Overall, the audit found that current practices within Citizenship and Immigration Canada and HRSDC do not ensure that foreign worker programs are delivered efficiently and effectively. It further noted that HRSDC and Citizenship and Immigration Canada have not defined their respective roles and responsibilities in assessing the genuineness of job offers and how that assessment is to be carried out. Four of the chapter’s eleven recommendations are directed at HRSDC, three of which are joint with Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The Department has taken significant corrective measures to address all observations highlighted in the report.

The government’s response can be found at:
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_02_e_33203.html#hd3e

 

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) – 2008-2009 Annual Report
Chapter 3: Overall progress regarding merit and the guiding values

Objective: This report provides Parliament with an integrated assessment of the overall integrity of the merit system based on the results of the Public Service Commission’s monitoring, studies, surveys audits and investigations.

HRSDC is referenced in the report because of its participation in the following two PSC initiatives – Labour Program’s consultation in PSC’s development of a methodology and data collection process to gather more accurate and reliable statistical data on employment equity; and the Department’s use of PSC’s customized assessment service to help identify future leaders within the Department.

Chapter 7: Enabling departments and agencies

Objective: This report assesses the support the Public Service Commission provides to organizations to enable them to exercise more fully their delegated authorities and achieve a values-based appointment system.

HRSDC is referenced in the report because of its participation in the launch of the PSC’s first e-test centres in fiscal year 2008-2009. The Department is further recognized as one of the "few departments" where the employment of Aboriginal peoples is concentrated within the Public Service.

The audits can be found at:
http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/arp-rpa/2009/index-eng.htm


Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Canadian Polar Commission

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Chapter 6 — Land Management and Environmental Protection on Reserves (November 2009)
The report, tabled in the House of Commons in fall 2009, stated that Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)and Environment Canada have identified a significant gap between First Nation reserves and Canadian communities elsewhere in the degree to which regulations protect the environment. While the federal government has the authority to regulate environmental threats on reserves, it has rarely used this authority to develop regulations to mitigate environmental threats that are regulated off reserves by provincial governments.

In addition, the report found that INAC has done little to monitor and enforce compliance with existing regulations. For example, while regulations under the Indian Act require a permit issued by INAC to operate a landfill site or burn waste on reserve lands, the department has issued few permits and is not equipped to conduct inspections, monitor compliance and enforce the regulations. Consequently, garbage is often not confined to licensed landfill sites and there is no monitoring of the impacts on drinking water sources and air quality. Off reserves, provincial and municipal regulations and enforcement help to prevent such situations.

Finally, the report mentioned that although INAC has developed legislative and program options to support First Nations who wish to assume partial or full control of land management on their reserves, most First Nation lands are still managed by the department under the Indian Act. First Nations’ access to alternative land management regimes established by INAC do not meet the demand. Consequently, INAC is unable to keep its commitment to transfer greater control of land management to First Nations who are ready to take on these responsibilities. Furthermore, for First Nations under either of the alternative land management regimes, the department provides insufficient training in comparison with the land management responsibilities being transferred.

The report mentions that officials at both INAC and Environment Canada cited a lack of funding as a key reason for not meeting some of their commitments.

As a result of the findings in the report, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) provided five recommendations to the department. INAC accepted all recommendations and has since completed an action plan that was approved at the department’s May14 Audit Committee meeting.

Chapter 4—Sustaining Development in the Northwest Territories (April 2010)

The report, tabled in the House of Commons in spring 2010, stated that the Government of Canada (represented by INAC), the Government of the NWT, and Aboriginal groups have finalized land claim agreements in the Inuvialuit, Gwich’in, Sahtu and Tlicho regions of the NWT. INAC has made progress toward finalizing the four comprehensive land claim settlements and 10 self-government agreements still being negotiated in the NWT. However, significant delays in the department’s provision of some agreed-on funding has hindered First Nations’ participation in the self-government negotiations process.

In addition, the report found that INAC has improved its support to co-management boards since 2005 and has supported the development of land use plans in these regions. However, key components of the environmental regulatory system are missing in regions where land claims have not been settled and where regional co-management boards have not yet been established. In many cases, there is no clear requirement for land use plans or a mechanism for community involvement in decision making. Consequently, decisions on development applications take longer than in regions with settled land claims.

The report also found that INAC and Environment Canada have not met their responsibilities to monitor the cumulative impact of development and of various pollutants on the fragile environment in the NWT, whether or not a settled land claim is in place. The conclusion is that co-management boards are missing environmental information that could be used in making decisions on development proposals.

Finally, the report found that INAC’s programs to support economic development in the NWT by funding community projects and activities lack a strategic focus and they do not have specific objectives against which progress can be measured and results tracked. The government recently transferred economic development programs in the NWT from INAC to the new Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

Five of the eight recommendations resulting from these findings were directed toward the department. The department has agreed to the recommendations and is developing an action plan to present to the Audit Committee.

External Audits
(Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

N/A

Industry Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

On May 28, 2009, Competition Bureau officials appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food regarding its study, Competitiveness of Canadian Agriculture. The Chair of the Committee requested that the Bureau provide recommendations for the powers, tools and resources it needs to address the competitive issues raised by this Committee. These issues include captive supply, high-input costs, margin squeeze, access to retail grocery space, dominance in the retail and processing sectors and others. The Bureau provided a letter of response, dated June 8, 2009. In addition, the Committee members requested a copy of the Abuse of Dominance Provisions, sections 78 and 79 of the Competition Act, as applied to the Canadian Grocery Sector guidelines, which were sent to the Committee Clerk in both official languages for distribution to the members. 

On November 18, 2009, Competition Bureau officials appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology regarding its study on credit cards, debit cards and Interac. The Bureau officials committed to providing the Committee with a statistical breakdown of complaints received during the past year by enforcement line, as well as information on the impact of credit card company practices in foreign jurisdictions when they have entered into the debit market. The Competition Bureau responded with a letter dated December 7, 2009. 

The Industry Canada Associate Deputy Minister appeared before the Public Accounts Comittee (PAC) in November 2009 to table the joint IC/TBS management action plan to address issues raised in the OAG Chapter Intellectual Property. The key items discussed were the adequacy of monitoring and meeting the objectives of the TBS policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts.

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Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General – Chapter 2 – Intellectual Property

Intellectual property includes rights resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields. This includes all intellectual creation legally protected through patents, copyright, industrial design, integrated circuit topography, and plant breeders’ rights, or subject to protection under the law as trade secrets and confidential information. The federal government generates intellectual property as a component of activities carried out under federal contracts to procure goods and services. Intellectual property is also generated by the federal government through its own science and research activities.

The audit also looked at the roles of Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat in monitoring the application of the federal policy governing intellectual property that arises under Crown procurement contracts.

The audit found that the federal government is not in a position to know whether the objective of the 8-year-old policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts is being met. It does not know how much intellectual property is generated externally in the course of contracted work. None of the entities audited adequately identify and report whether work performed under contract is likely to generate intellectual property. Based on the audit, Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat have not adequately fulfilled their obligations to monitor the application of the policy, with a focus on cases where exceptions were involved, and to evaluate the policy.

The management action plan in response to the recommendations of this audit was presented to the Departmental Audit Committee in 2009–10.

Recommendations and Industry Canada Responses:

2.25 Recommendation: Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat should work with federal entities to improve the monitoring of the application of the policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts, with a focus on cases where exceptions were invoked. They should work with federal entities to ensure that intellectual property data are accurately interpreted and that reporting systems correctly report ownership to support a future evaluation of the policy.

Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s response: Industry  Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat agree with the recommendation. Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat agree to work with federal entities to ensure that they are aware of the need for accurate and comprehensive data collection to allow for a future evaluation of the policy’s effectiveness. Pursuant to the Treasury Board of Canada policy on Title to Intellectual Property Arising Under Crown Procurement Contracts (Section 10), deputy heads are accountable for implementing the policy and ensuring that reporting responsibilities are met.

In 2007, Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat took action to ensure necessary modifications were made to the reporting systems for procurement contracts. A Contracting Policy Notice was subsequently sent to departments and agencies advising of these changes. In addition, activities were undertaken to help federal entities understand these modifications, including a revision of the Implementation Guide for the Policy, the preparation of frequently asked questions, and the development of an e-learning product on intellectual property. These actions will help ensure the collection of more accurate data, which will be examined on an annual basis, to support an evaluation of the policy as planned in 2011.

2.33 Recommendation: Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat should coordinate their ongoing and planned assessments of the existing intellectual property policies to provide better and more efficient support for common issues relating to the management of intellectual property.

Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s response: Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat agree with the recommendation. Industry Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will work together to ensure assessments of existing intellectual property policies are coordinated and comprehensively address common issues. Industry Canada will share with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and other departments, through the Assistant Deputy Minister Committee on Science and Technology, assessments of federal intellectual property policies emanating from the work of the interdepartmental Knowledge Translation and Commercialization Working Group, which is co-chaired by Industry Canada and the National Research Council Canada. The working group was established following the release of the 2007 federal Science and Technology Strategy.

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Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General – Chapter 3 – Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings

Responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of federal employees working in a federally administered office building is shared among many parties. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is responsible for ensuring that federally occupied buildings, their operating systems and equipment remain safe in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), through its Labour Program, is responsible for administering and enforcing fire protection policy and standards in federally occupied buildings. In addition, individual departments are responsible for the health and safety of their employees working in these buildings.

The audit also assessed whether departments were planning for fire emergencies in compliance with key requirements of the Treasury Board Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization (the Standard), including conducting required fire drills. In addition, the audit looked at the activities of Fire Protection Services (formerly called the Fire Commissioner of Canada), the division within HRSDC’s Labour Program responsible for administering and enforcing this standard. The audit also looked at the role of the Labour Program’s regional and district offices in reviewing fire safety plans for buildings occupied by the federal government.

The audit found that although departments are required to hold annual fire evacuation drills to train employees and test evacuation procedures, in 33% of the 54 buildings reviewed, the departments could not demonstrate that they were doing so. Furthermore, the departments occupying almost all of the high-rise buildings we reviewed are not carrying out the additional drills required. Departments do not comply with key requirements of the Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization. For example, fire safety plans for the majority of buildings in the audit had not been submitted to HRSDC’s Labour Program — the federal government’s technical authority on fire safety — for review and acceptance.

HRSDC’s Labour Program does not fully administer and enforce the Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization. There is no government-wide monitoring of participation in fire evacuation drills. In addition, the Labour Program does not have adequate management systems in place to ensure that it reviews fire safety plans for all government buildings to determine whether they are able to evacuate employees in an emergency. The Labour Program had reviewed the plans for only 19 of the 54 buildings included in the audit (35%) and only 10 of these plans met the requirements of the standard and were accepted.

Recommendations and Industry Canada Responses:

3.80 Recommendation: Departments should ensure that fire safety plans are prepared and administered in accordance with established federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards.

Industry Canada’s response: Agreed. The Department assumed responsibility as the major occupying department in the Heritage Building in February 2007. Since then, first priority was given to transforming a partially staffed Fire and Emergency Organization into a fully revamped and trained unit. The second priority was to improve the existing fire safety plan by reviewing it and making it compliant with the Treasury Board Standard. The fire safety plans for the C.D. Howe Building and Heritage Building were sent to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in November 2008 for approval.

Once the review process is completed, it will be sent to the senior officer for approval.

3.88 Recommendation: Departments should ensure that all evacuation drills are held as required by federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards.

Industry Canada’s response: Agreed. Designated staff drills are conducted in the form of classroom training every 2 months in the C.D. Howe Building in accordance with the Treasury Board Standard. Supporting documentation is available.

Drills every 3 months for adjoining groups of floors have not been conducted in the C.D. Howe Building since October 2000, when Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) placed the C.D. Howe Building on interim emergency procedures due to the lack of a fully functional voice communication system in the building. The direction provided by HRSDC indicated that the evacuation procedures for fire alarms in the building had to be changed from a phased evacuation to a full evacuation. In order to conduct a phased evacuation, the building voice communication must be fully operational and audible on all floors. This allows instructional fire evacuation for adjoining floors. The C.D. Howe Building is currently undergoing a retrofit, during which the renewal of the voice communication system will be completed during fiscal year 2012–13.

As for the Heritage Building, designated staff drills and the drills every 3 months for adjoining groups of floors will be implemented in March 2009.

3.93 Recommendation: Departments should ensure that building fire emergency organizations are established and administered as required by federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards.

Industry Canada’s response: Agreed. The Department already establishes and administers building fire emergency organizations for the C.D. Howe Building and the Heritage Building.

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2009 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable DevelopmentChapter 1 – Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

Environmental assessment is a process used to predict and mitigate the adverse environmental effects of a project before it is carried out. Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, projects that must undergo environmental assessment include the construction, operation, modification, demolition or abandonment of a physical work, or other physical activities specified by regulation. The Act applies to projects for which a federal department or agency (referred to as a responsible authority) has decision-making authority, whether as project proponent, regulator, land manager or funding source.

The federal organization is then responsible for conducting an environmental assessment, from defining the scope of the project, consulting with the public where deemed appropriate, carrying out the environmental assessment, determining the significance of the environmental effects and ensuring their mitigation. There are effectively 3 types of environmental assessment — screenings, comprehensive studies and review panels. In total, some 6,000 federal environmental assessments are carried out annually by more than 100 federal organizations that must apply the Act.

The audit examined whether federal organizations are complying with the environmental assessment process established by the Act.

For the comprehensive studies and review panels examined, responsible authorities have complied with the Act. However, it is not clear that screenings — the most common type of assessment — are meeting all of the Act’s requirements. In half the files reviewed, the rationale or analysis was too weak to demonstrate how the environmental effects of projects had been considered, their significance assessed and decisions reached. The assessment of cumulative effects remains a challenge for all types of environmental assessment.

For projects where there is more than one authority responsible, disputes about project scope may cause serious delays in the environmental assessment process, with related consequences for project implementation. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has worked with parties in trying to resolve such disputes, with limited results. The Agency does not have the authority to impose a resolution.

No official response was required of Industry Canada.

Industry Canada was asked by the Office of the Auditor General to provide updates on the progress of implementing recommendations from past performance audits. The following update was provided:

  1. 2008–05 Chapter 1 – Management of Fees in Selected Departments and Agencies, Recommendation 1.46: The Department has fully implemented the recommendation.

    The Department has developed a multi-year plan to review all fees under the Radiocommunication Regulations and spectrum licence fees set under the Department of Industry Act. Due to the number of fees, only a select number of fees will be evaluated each year. The plan was implemented in 2009–10. One of the challenges these reviews will face is that there is no policy guidance from the Treasury Board Secretariat with respect to fees for rights and privileges; however, there is indication that a policy that includes fee level analysis may be forthcoming.
  2. 2008–05 Chapter 1 – Management of Fees in Selected Departments and Agencies, Recommendation 1.73: The Department has fully implemented the recommendation.

    The Department has implemented improved reporting in the 2008–09 Departmental Performance Report and its 2009–10 Report on Plans and Priorities. These documents provide more detailed performance information and transparency with respect to fees.

2009 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development – Chapter 4 – Environmental Petitions 

The environmental petitions process provides Canadians with a formal means to bring their concerns about environmental issues to the attention of federal ministers and departments and to obtain a response to their concerns. On behalf of the Auditor General of Canada, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development manages the environmental petitions process and monitors responses of federal ministers. As required by the Act, the Commissioner reports annually on the quantity, nature, and status of petitions received and on the timeliness of departmental responses. The Annual Report on Petitions and Responses covers the period between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009.

The report indicated that 8 of 9 responses from Industry Canada were received an average of 50 days late. It also indicated that the CESD raised concerns about unanswered questions in Industry Canada’s response to Petitions 255 and 255-B.

2009–10 Activities

Response

Petition 287 — Potential environmental and public health impact of a federally funded municipal sewage project in L’Isle-Verte, Quebec 

Additional information provided

Petition 255B — Potential impact on human health of electromagnetic radiation emanating from telecommunication towers on Triangle Mountain, British Columbia

External Audits

Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Infrastructure Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees

There were no recommendations to Infrastructure Canada from Parliamentary Committees in 2009-2010.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

Public Service Commission of Canada’s Audit of Infrastructure Canada
An external audit was conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) titled Audit of Infrastructure Canada. The audit was a human resources (HR) audit that examined the human resources (HR) staffing practices at Infrastructure Canada.

The final audit report was published in October 2009 and covered the period of January 1, 2006 to April 30, 2008. Although the audit found several issues, the report also noted that systematic corrective actions had already been implemented or were underway. The Public Service Commission requires that Infrastructure Canada reports back twice a year to the Commission, to ensure that the concerns in the audit are completely addressed. During the progress updates provided to the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) in June 2010, three management action plans were listed as completed for this audit, while three remaining action plans were in various stages of completion. The Public Service Commission’s audit report is available at this link: http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/rprt/2009/ic/index-eng.htm.

National Defence

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


1st Report of the Standing Committee on National Defence, 39th Parliament, 1st Session, "Canadian Forces in Afghanistan" (Adopted by the Committee on June 12, 2007; Presented to the House on June 18, 2007)
Original report
Government response

Recommendation Government Response/Commitment Status
6. The government should recognize the critical and growing work done by the Operational Stress Injury Social Support Network and support it with appropriate funding and other resources, so that it can keep up with the growing need of caring for returning Afghanistan Veterans and their families. The Government recognizes the critical work being done by the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) network and has allocated additional resources to support the program's growing needs.

Since the launch of the OSISS network in February 2002, Department of National Defence (DND) funding for OSISS initiatives has increased every year. To meet the rising demand for services, the Government approved a 25% increase in DND's funding for OSISS for fiscal year 2007-2008, bringing the total to $2.6 million. This increased funding will allow OSISS to hire two new peer support coordinators for military members and veterans, six new family peer support coordinators, four regional coordinators, and one speakers' bureau coordinator.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) also contributes $500,000 annually to support ongoing OSISS operations and to contribute to the management and delivery of the program. Furthermore, Budget 2007 provided an additional $1 million annually to VAC to allow OSISS to hire additional family peer support coordinators and support staff, demonstrating the Government's commitment to this worthwhile program.
Since the launch of the OSISS network in February 2002, National Defence funding for OSISS initiatives has increased every year. In 2006, the program launched a Bereavement component to support families who lost a loved one. In fiscal year 2007-2008 alone, the Government approved a 25% increase in the Department's funding for OSISS. DND implemented a regional management structure to the program in March 2009 recognising the importance of supporting front line staff and to create a more robust case management capacity within the program and a new agreement was signed with VAC in 2010 to ensure effective and efficient co-management of the program. A comprehensive strategy has now been developed leveraging the success of OSISS that includes the development of a comprehensive education/prevention initiative to mitigate Operational Stress Injuries as well as general Mental Health problems, decrease stigma, provide tangible tools for leaders to intervene at their levels and remove many of the existing barriers to mental health care.

11th Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 39th Parliament, 1st Session, "Chapter 2 of the May 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada on National Defence - Military Recruiting and Retention" (Adopted by the Committee on November 30, 2006; Presented to the House on December 7, 2006)
Original report
Government response

Recommendation Government Response/Commitment Status
2. That the Department of National Defence report progress in the implementation of its action plan to strengthen the recruitment and retention of military personnel in its annual Departmental Performance Report, beginning with the Report for the period ending 31 March 2007. The Department should also report progress in implementing its national recruiting attractions plan as well as its strategic guidance on national recruiting. In making this information available to Parliament, the Department must make clear reference to the outcomes that are being achieved. The Department of National Defence will ensure that the information identified in this recommendation is included in its annual Departmental Performance Report beginning with the report for the period ending 31 March 2007. The National Attractions Plan is embedded in the CF Recruiting Group's Annual Operations Plan, which has been published for the past four years. Overall recruiting targets for fiscal year 2009-10 were achieved with a total intake of 7522 personnel representing 100.9% of the intake goal. Significantly, of the 19 Priority Occupations (the most distressed occupations assessed as being the most difficult to recruit into) CF Recruiting Group achieved 100% of the intake in 13 occupations and greater than 90% in 4 of the remaining occupations for fiscal year 2009-10. The Strategic Guidance on National Recruiting was published in Feb 2007.
3. That the Department of National Defence establish a formal commitment to process applications for membership in the Canadian Forces within thirty days, ensure that all applicants are made aware of that commitment and report its progress in meeting those goals in its annual Departmental Performance Report. The Government will continue to explore additional opportunities to streamline applicant processing and is progressing with the development of a robust performance measurement system based on the Treasury Board framework for service standards. Progress in meeting the goals identified above will be included in the annual Departmental Performance Report for the Department of National Defence, beginning with the report for the period ending 31 March 2007. Attainment of the goal for applicant processing of 30% completed in 5 days and 70% in 30 days continues to be a significant challenge. Improvements were made in applicant service, eliminating waiting time and in the prioritization of processing. While the Commanding Officers of Recruiting Centres have been given the authority to conduct parallel processing in order to maximize the use of their resources at any given time and ensure concurrent activity, significant delays still exist in resolving three key issues: delays due to difficulties in resolving medical issues discovered during medical fitness evaluations that require additional information from an applicant's civilian medical specialist, delays due to confirmation of pre-security screening requirements and, in many cases, delays waiting for applicants to provide information missing from incomplete applications.
8. The Department of National Defence determine the rate of attrition for female members of the Canadian Forces and, in its exit surveys, seek to establish which factors prompt female members to leave the Forces before full service is completed. The results, along with corrective measures taken to encourage women to complete their full service should be reported in the Department's annual Performance Reports, beginning with the Report for the period ending 31 March 2008. A comprehensive survey analysis that will be conducted in the fall of 2007 will allow the Government to better understand the reasons female members of the Canadian Forces decide to leave the military. Should trends be identified that indicate a need for change, the Government will initiate appropriate corrective measures. The results of this survey analysis, together with any corrective measures undertaken, will be reported in the Departmental Performance Reports, beginning with the report for the period ending 31 March 2008. The CF Retention Strategy approved by AFC in March 2009 with its six lines of operations and 43 initiatives continues to be advanced on a number of fronts (the main lines of operations are Career/Employment Management, Career/Family Balance and Basic Training). CF attrition research has been expanded on and research focussed on female attrition and retention has been completed for naval officer occupations as well as for air force officers in the Pilot and Air Combat Systems Operations occupations. A comprehensive 20 year comparison of overall male and female attrition rates was included in the first Annual Report on Regular Force Attrition (fiscal year 2007-08). Several studies have been undertaken to investigate attrition occurring during the first year of service (YOS) as well as attrition patterns for CF members deployed on Task Force Afghanistan (TFA). In support of the CF Retention Strategy, the CF Retention Survey and CF Exit Survey continue to be administered to gather data on turnover intentions of CF personnel.

Female Attrition Rates for the CF Regular Force
Fiscal Year Officers Non-Commissioned Members
2001-02 4.7% 6.9%
2002-03 6.5% 6.7%
2003-04 6.6% 6.5%
2004-05 5.4% 6.3%
2005-06 6.0% 6.2%
2006-07 5.0% 8.1%
2007-08 6.9% 9.8%
2008-09 6.0% 8.4%
2009-10 7.0% 8.7%

The attrition rates for females in fiscal year 2009-10 were higher than those for men. Female rates had increased over the past year whereas rates for men had decreased from 7.2% in fiscal year 2008-09 to 5.9% in 2009-10 for officers and from 9.6% to 7.5% for NCMs. (Fiscal year 2009-10 rates are preliminary).

9. The Department of National Defence begin to report the results of the exit surveys it conducts among members of the Canadian Forces in its Departmental Performance Reports beginning with the Report for the period ending 31 March 2007. References to the methodology and scope of the surveys should be included. The Department of National Defence will ensure that the information identified in this recommendation is included in its annual Departmental Performance Report. However, since the comprehensive analysis of survey results will not commence until the fall of 2007, the reporting of these results can only begin with the report for the period ending 31 March 2008. The Exit Survey is given to all Regular Force members who are leaving the CF voluntarily. Survey completion is voluntary. The objective of the analysis of Exit Survey data is to assess departing members' satisfaction (agreement) with several organizational issues as well as determine the extent to which these organizational issues and dissatisfiers influence their decision to leave the CF. Final reports detailing analysis of data collected from 2005 to 2008 will be released by September 2010. Analysis of data collected with the ongoing version, administered since summer 2008, has begun. As well, the CF Retention Survey, which is administered to occupations that are "at-risk" with regards to attrition, is used to explore specific work and non-work related items and their impact on whether an individual intends to stay in or leave the CF in the next five years. Results from the 2008 CF Retention survey are currently being analyzed and published by occupation. The 2010 CF Retention survey is in the field and data analysis will begin later this year. Results of the 2010 Retention survey will provide performance measures to the CF Retention Strategy.
10. That the Department of National Defence establish a target for the maximum acceptable rate of attrition of its trained effective strength and monitor the performance of the package of measures it has instituted to meet that target. The Department should begin to report its progress in its annual Departmental Performance Report beginning with the report ending 31 March 2007. The Government will include data regarding attrition rates in the Department of National Defence annual Departmental Performance Report beginning with the report ending 31 March 2007. However, the data will be based on trend analysis as opposed to pre-determined targets. Due to the number of factors influencing attrition that are beyond the control of the CF, including the state of the Canadian economy, instead of establishing a target for the maximum acceptable rate of attrition of its trained effective strength, the CF closely monitors all aspects of attrition and uses statistical modelling to forecast attrition for each occupation for each fiscal year. These forecasts are used in formal, structured processes to determine the number of personnel who need to be recruited for each occupation for each fiscal year and are published as the Strategic Intake Plan. During the fiscal year, actual recruiting and attrition are monitored on a month-by-month basis and the Strategic Intake Plan is adjusted as required.

While voluntary Regular Force attrition between 2006 and 2008 increased from 4% to 6.9%, this rate increase was manageable in that the CF had the capacity to recruit and train sufficient personnel necessary to replace those who left. However, the additional requirement to recruit and train personnel to meet Force Expansion targets strained both the recruiting and training systems.

During fiscal year 2009 - 2010 the Strategic Intake Plan was set at a higher than traditional level and sought to enrol 7,454 personnel. Actual recruiting exceeded this target, with 7,522 personnel being brought into the Regular Force. Projected attrition was 6,250; however, with the downturn in the economy and a successful CF Retention Strategy, only 5,293 personnel left the Regular Force this past fiscal year. Consequently, with recruiting up and attrition down, the CF grew by 2,229 personnel during this timeframe. The overall strength of the Regular Force as of end-March 2010 was 68,124 personnel and slightly surpassed the 2011-2012 growth target of 68,000.

Now that Force Expansion requirements have been met, the Strategic Intake Plan for the next few years will be reduced to approximately 5,000 new recruits each year. This reduction will alleviate the strain on the recruiting system. However, surge recruiting that occurred during the past few years created a backlog of personnel undergoing basic and initial occupational training. Efforts are being made to increase training capacity and to move these personnel from the Basic Training List to the Trained Effective Strength as quickly as possible; however, due to the length of many technical and professional training programs, it will take a few years before the Trained Effective Strength sees a substantial increase.

15th Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 39th Parliament, 1st Session, "Chapter 5 - Relocating Members of the Canadian Forces, RCMP, and Federal Public Service of the November 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (Adopted by the Committee on May 16, 2007; Presented to the House on May 29, 2007)
Original report
Government response

Recommendation Government Response/Commitment Status
5. That the Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Treasury Board Secretariat include, in their annual Departmental Performance Reports, references to the Integrated Relocation-Program as it relates to their employees. Information on the numbers of employees using the Program, the costs, and the extent to which the purposes of the Program are being achieved must be included. This performance information must be included in DPRs beginning with Reports for the period ending 31 March 2008. The Government accepts this recommendation. The purpose of the Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) is to relocate CF personnel and their families in the most efficient fashion and at the most reasonable cost to the public while having a minimum detrimental effect on the employee and family, and on departmental operations.

During fiscal year 2009/10, the CF authorized the service provider, Royal Lepage Relocation Services (RLRS)/ Brookfield Global Relocation Services (GRS), to effect relocations for 16,859 personnel. Of those, 16,653 were activated and it is estimated that as many as 15,900 members actually relocated. Records indicate that the administration fees paid to RLRS/Brookfield GRS for providing relocation services totalled just under $26 million, including GST. The summation of the flow through costs for reimbursements made to CF personnel for relocation benefits were slightly greater than $242 million. All of these figures reflect slight increases over the previous year.

A new IRP contract was awarded to Brookfield Global Relocation Services (GRS) in 2009 and became effective on 1 December. It should be noted that this is the same company that held the previous contract as Royal LePage Relocation Services has simply changed its name to Brookfield GRS. No new CFIRP Manual has been issued this year. Instead the 2009 Manual is still in use in combination with a series of Clarification Bulletins. The Manual and Bulletins are all available on line. The Service Level Agreement between DRBM/DGCB and DGMPRA has changed such that DGMPRA now only collects data for Customer Satisfaction Surveys with analysis now being conducted by DRBM. The most recent data has only just been received in DRBM in June (with an approximately 8% response rate) and has not yet been analysed.


2nd Report of the Standing Committee on National Defence, 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, "Health Services Provided to Canadian Forces Personnel with an Emphasis on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" (Adopted by the Committee on June 8, 2009; Presented to the House on June 17, 2009)
Original report
Government response

Recommendation Government Response/Commitment Status
1. The Minister of National Defence and Chief of the Defence Staff to make a joint public announcement to all Canadian Forces ranks, outlining a high-profile effort to pursue a modern, enlightened and unequivocal view of mental health issues in the Canadian Forces. All commanders of commands, formations and units to deliver complementary declarations to their personnel, to reinforce local implementation.

The Government is dedicated to pursuing a modern, enlightened and unequivocal view of mental health issues in the CF and has already taken steps to implement the Committee's recommendation. On 25 June 2009, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) made a public announcement to launch the CF Mental Health Awareness Campaign, themed "Be the Difference," which has the dual aim of educating CF personnel on mental health issues, and building a culture of understanding. In his speech, the CDS communicated the idea that all personnel can make a difference to those affected by mental health issues. He also highlighted the success of two CF non-clinical programs: the Mental Health and Operational Stress Injury Joint Speakers Bureau, established in 2007 to educate the military community on mental health issues; and the Operational Stress Injury Social Support network, an innovative peer-based intervention program established in 2001.

CF efforts to date have had success in raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues among the leadership cadre. However, much remains to be done at the lower rank levels to ensure that they too understand that mental illness is a genuine illness and not a personal failing. As part of the CF Mental Health Awareness Campaign, commanders of commands, formations and units will also be encouraged to deliver complementary declarations to their personnel to reinforce implementation at the local level.

This has been completed. It is continuing with the role-out of the "Be The Difference" campaign across the CF. As this is non-clinical mental health it falls more under the responsibility of CMP. This campaign launch was accompanied by the distribution of print and audio-visual materials to all units across the CF, and a general message was issued to the CF population. A follow-up awareness campaign is also being implemented at major bases across Canada with the support and participation of local leadership.
2. The Department of National Defence to cause an independent audit to be conducted of military patient case management practices, to determine the extent to which a gap exists between expressed Canadian Forces policy and the actual practices applied to the continuing treatment and care of injured Canadian Forces personnel. Once defined, appropriate measures should be taken, throughout the chain of command, to eliminate the gap and improve patient care. Several authorities external to the CF have recently reviewed these issues, including the Office of the Auditor General, the CF Chief Review Services, the CF Ombudsman, the Mental Health Advisory Committee - a civil-military body with participation from DND, VAC, the RCMP and academics - to examine and make recommendations regarding mental health issues. Accreditation Canada, a not-for-profit, independent organization that is recognized as the national authority for the establishment and assessment of health care standards and the accreditation of health care institutions, also specifically assesses concordance between policy and practice. Gaps and action plans are well defined and further reviews are planned, such as Accreditation Canada's audit of the entire CF health system and the Mental Health Advisory Committee's ongoing reviews. In addition, an international panel of experts, led by the Deputy Surgeon General and including military and civilian experts from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and the Netherlands, will be reviewing and discussing each nation's experience with suicide prevention/education, as well as current literature and evidence-based best practices, this fall (22-23 September 2009). The Government looks forward to the outcome of all of these studies and will make every effort to implement recommended measures to eliminate the policy-implementation gap and further improve patient care. Accreditation Canada's audit of the CF Healthcare System continues. As per initial Government response, if and when any gaps that exist between expressed Canadian Forces' policy and the actual practices applied to the continuing treatment and care of injured Canadian Forces personnel, appropriate measures are taken, throughout the chain of command, to eliminate the gap and improve patient care. This item should be considered complete.
9 . The Canadian Forces to ensure that members and their families are provided with information about the risk of domestic violence that is associated with OSI and PTSD, and to provide services to family members who are at risk of or suffering from domestic violence as a result of OSI or PTSD. The Government has already taken actions to address this issue. A CF directive has been issued outlining the steps to be followed when an incident of family violence occurs. It explains the CF policy on family violence, establishes a framework for management/implementation of the policy at both national and unit levels and assigns responsibility/authority for the various elements of the policy. The CF has also adopted an interdisciplinary team including health care providers, chaplains, Military Police and Military Family Resource Centre staff who assist in educating the CF on the prevention of family violence as well as responding to incidents. Moreover, the newly formed Mental Health & OSI Joint Speakers Bureau is currently developing new mental health educational curriculum, which will include information about the risk of domestic violence associated with OSI and PTSD, and coordinating its delivery. While the new curriculum is being developed, the focus within the CF is on how to motivate CF members to encourage their families to attend information sessions where the link between domestic violence and OSI is discussed. Families have access to social support through trained Family Peer support coordinators within the OSISS program. The Mental Health & OSI Joint Speakers Bureau has developed new mental health educational curriculum that is specific to families and deployment which includes information about potential negative behaviours associated with OSI and PTSD. New curriculum for families is also under development regarding mental health in general which will which will include information about the risk of domestic violence associated with OSI and PTSD, and a web-based delivery of this curriculum is being explored to render it accessible to all families. While the new curriculum is being developed, the focus within the CF is on how to motivate CF members to encourage their families to attend information sessions where the link between domestic violence and OSI is discussed. The CF continues to take a proactive stance in preventing family violence through education and awareness. The CF Family Violence Prevention and Awareness Campaign "Take a Stand Against Family Violence" was launched in 2007 and runs the second week of October each year. The campaign is intended to encourage open and frank dialogue on the prevention of family violence. The campaign includes posters, brochures, and family fact sheets, distribution of briefings and a resource database for use by responders/service providers, and localized base/wing activities. The CF Family Violence Prevention and Awareness Campaign is implemented locally through Base/Wing Family Crisis Teams, Military Family Resource Centres or the Strengthening the Forces Health Promotion Office.
10. The Canadian Forces to develop a formal outreach program to educate contracted health care professionals about the unique nature of military experiences encountered on international missions, particularly those involving any degree of combat. The Government is currently working in this direction. Local level initiatives, such as the collective clinical training offered at CFB Gagetown and Valcartier for all health care professionals, are already well underway to develop such an understanding among both Public Service and contracted health care professionals, but there would be benefit in a more formal approach. To this end, the CF Health Services Group recently began developing a civilian personnel orientation package geared initially to Public Servants and civilian contractors. The package is expected to include information on the military culture, organization, terminology and domestic and international operations, including those involving combat, as well as occupational health aspects of the military. It could be completed as early as November 2009. Local initiatives continue to be developed that include information not only for healthcare providers but family members of CF Personnel. Work also continues on developing a civilian personnel orientation guide. This guide was not completed by November 2009 as initially anticipated and a new completion date has not been determined at this time.
11. The Canadian Forces to formally recognize the requirement to include, where appropriate, selected family members in the treatment regime of psychologically injured personnel and take measures to ensure they are consulted and included in treatment plans, to the extent it is helpful to do so. The Government fully recognizes the value-added of family members in the treatment of personnel injured either physically or psychologically. The inclusion of family members, where relevant to the health care of CF patients, is a long-established practice. The CF has issued an instruction on Member Focused Family Care which formally recognizes the importance of family inclusion in the care of the member and provides the opportunity for family members to be seen in CF clinics in support of the member and to participate in psycho-education programs. These programs are conducted at the regional centres. Families are brought into the clinic for an intensive one week training program to educate them about the CF members' condition and their involvement in the care and support to the member. Completed.
12. Where injured Canadian Forces members require continuing assistance in navigating an administratively complex programme of treatment and care, the Canadian Forces to facilitate the use of a designated advocate chosen by the member and provide an appropriate level of cooperation with such advocate. Canadian Forces members to be advised of their right to an advocate. Given the concerns of additional stresses on family members, potential advocates to include retired members of the Canadian Forces and other professionals (e.g. medical doctors, psychologists, spiritual/religious advisors). The Government recognizes the need to assist CF members in navigating the sometimes complex administration of treatment and care. The last thing injured personnel and their families want is an additional source of stress. There are already many professionals/entities responsible for advocating on the injured member's behalf, including Case Managers, Peer Counsellors, Veterans Affairs Advocates, the Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSC) and the chain of command. There has been an increased focus on identifying and correcting the deficiencies in the current system, including through the stand-up of the new Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) that provides a one-stop shop for ill and injured members. Services offered by the JPSU include advocacy on a variety of issues such as the administration of health care. To bolster the implementation of the JPSU/IPSCs, two services targeted at supporting the families of the ill and injured were introduced:
  • Family Liaison Officer: Dedicated support to the families of CF personnel with an illness, injury, or special need; and
  • Casualty Support Child Care: Child care services for the families of the ill and injured and the families of the fallen.
13. The Canadian Forces to give primary consideration to the continuity of quality care for recovering soldiers, over career development options. The Government agrees that the health of our recovering men and women in uniform should always come first and that CF personnel should not be moved from one location to the other if such a move has the potential to adversely affect their recovery. This is particularly important in the case of mental health issues such as operational stress injuries and PTSD where the stability of the relationship between a patient and his/her mental health professional is crucial to ensure the success of the treatment and the full recovery of the member. While medical officers assign military employment limitations to patients in need of particular care or treatment when necessary to ensure that appropriate continuity of care is achieved, it may not always be clear to career managers that they should avoid posting a member away from his/her unit. The Government recognizes that this is an issue and the CF is committed to look into ways of improving its record in this area. In doing so, the CF will reach for a delicate balance between continuity of care and professional development, one that will put the health of our men and women in uniform first, while avoiding being an obstacle to career progression - which could make members reluctant to report the symptoms of mental health illnesses. Director General Military Careers will continue to work with the other agencies within Defence that are charged with the care of the ill and injured to ensure that ill and injured members are treated with compassion. However, the boundaries imposed by the principle of universality of service and the National Defence Act must also be considered. To this end, a special board has been stood up, chaired by Chief Military Personnel with senior membership from the environmental commands, to ensure that decisions on the future employment of members wounded in action receive consideration at the highest level possible. Likewise, policy has been put in place to allow for the retention of ill and injured personnel who breech the terms of Universality of Service, but are employable 5 days a week during normal working hours for a transition period of up to 3 years. On completion of this period, the Director of Casualty Support Management, in cooperation with the staffs of the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) and Veterans Affairs Canada will ensure that the member receives the support required to transition to a civilian career, and ensure that they receive all of the pension/medical benefits associated with their condition. For those members whose condition does not allow them to be employed, they will be retained for a period of up to 6 months during which time the Director of Casualty Support Management, working with the agencies mentioned above will ensure a smooth transition plan into civilian life.
14. The Canadian Forces to monitor the mental health of its members for five years after deployment on operational missions, to ensure effective treatment and tracking of mental health issues. The Government supports the need for sustained tracking of CF members' mental health. In fact, the CF monitors the mental health of its members not just for five years after an operational tour of duty, but throughout their entire career. The mechanisms for doing this include opportunities to self-report concerns through a mandatory end of deployment report and during Third Location Decompression, a mandatory enhanced post-deployment medical and psycho-social/mental health screening a few months post-deployment, an ongoing systematic program of Periodic Health Assessments for the duration of the member's career, the opportunity to self-identify and self-present for care at any time, and a final pre-release health assessment. Supervisors also have the responsibility to monitor the well-being of their subordinates and refer them to help if necessary. Completed.
15. The Canadian Forces to recognize there still exists a certain culture, perhaps even a prejudice, regarding how mental illness is perceived among its rank and file.

The CF recognizes the stigma attached to mental health and is very pro-active in addressing this issue. The newly formed Joint Speakers Bureau, which includes mental health clinicians and OSI veterans, has been actively educating CF members and the chain of command at all stages of a member's career on mental health and the importance of creating a supportive environment so members can come forward early for mental health care. More recently, the CDS campaign raised the importance of mental health as a leadership issue. There is evidence that these efforts to decrease stigma have been successful in that members are seeking help much earlier when mental issues arise, indicating a significant reduction in stigma as a barrier to care. Moreover, the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health recently "praised the military for its success in taking some of the stigma out of mental illness." Mr. Bill Wilkerson, the Chairman of the Roundtable, stated that "the military and paramilitary have crossed the Rubicon in recognizing that mental illness is a real expression of ill health and not weak character."

Information on mental health and OSI is already included in all Basic Military Qualification Training for commissioned and non-commissioned members, as well as Primary Leadership Qualification and Advanced Leadership Qualification. However, the CF is currently reviewing the detailed descriptions of the knowledge, skills, and other attributes required for all members of the CF for both officers and non commissioned personnel. This review is expected to result in the addition of OSI information to a greater number of courses. As of 1 October 2009, there will also be a standardized mental health and OSI pre-deployment education for all CF members, including leaders at all levels. This pre-deployment education will include recognition of behaviours often associated with mental health conditions, possible interventions, as well as information about available resources.

Information on Mental Health (MH) and Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) is currently taught during eight 40-minute periods throughout the Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) and Basic Military Qualification (BMQ) courses for commissioned and non-commissioned CF members, respectively. Additional content on the subjects are also provided on the other courses later during a member's career on the Primary Leadership Qualification (ten 45-minute periods), the Intermediate Leadership Qualification (two 45-minute periods) and the Advanced Leadership Qualification (eight 45-minute periods). The CF continuously reviews the training to update or add new knowledge and course content. The intent of future reviews on MH/OSI training is to add knowledge to courses where no training currently exists or to improve existing training. In the fall of 2009, preparations were made to provide a standardized MH/OSI pre-deployment education for all CF members, including leaders, at all levels. This pre-deployment education includes recognition of behaviours often associated with mental health conditions, possible interventions, as well as information about available resources. The pilot course was delivered in December 2009. Implementation of the training is scheduled for Task Force 3-10 in June 2010 in Valcartier, with 2,500 personnel to be trained. There is an additional phase of this training which involves family members of those being deployed, with on-site training on two bases for now, and also via Webinar for those who are not in close geographic proximity to a base, wing or Military Family Resource Centre. For the basic military qualification courses, a working group met in April 2010 to completely review the content and prepare for delivery of a three-phase building block process to teach and coach the members' skills throughout their career and deployment cycles. The training will be implemented starting in January 2011 and involves a three-phase approach based on three specific time periods within the basic military qualification courses (around 2nd week, 7th week and 13th week) when guest speakers from Health Services Group/Joint Speakers Bureau introduce MH/OSI topics as follows:

Phase 1 - First Teaching Block: definitions, coping skills;
Phase 2 - Middle Teaching Block: skill reaffirmation such as what do you remember, how have you applied what you learned so far, goal setting; and
Phase 3 - Last Teaching Block- resilience, getting help, types of resources, demystifying MH, fears of stigma, resource barriers, suicide and addictions.

18. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces to move to co-locate all medical facilities on military bases, in a manner that supports the concept that all injuries and ailments will be treated with equal respect and that works to eliminate any lingering stigma associated with mental health issues. The Government adheres to this concept and has made every effort to co-locate all medical facilities on military bases. While challenges remain, these are due to infrastructure limitations rather than a lack of desire to co-locate. As new clinics are built as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) Infrastructure Recapitalization Project, all services will be integrated in one facility. This project will ensure that all CF clinics meet health care standards and that they provide appropriate layout and space for staff to operate effectively. The current Canadian Forces Health Services Infrastructure Plan takes in to account this recommendation and will ensure collocation of all medical facilities on military bases. This item should be considered complete.
19. The Department of National Defence to ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the establishment of a sufficient number of the Joint Personnel Support Units and Integrated Personnel Support Centres to provide this level of support and service nation-wide. DND continually strives to improve the resources, both financial and human, to support establishments throughout the country. Up to now, there is one Joint Personnel Support Unit with 19 Integrated Personnel Support Centres in its chain of command across Canada. Work is ongoing with the CF to assess the need for additional centres. The implementation of the full scope of the new capability is expected during fiscal year 2010-11.
20. Reserve unit chains of command to be intimately and proactively involved in ensuring their returning personnel complete the post-deployment process on time, including all necessary administration, interviews and medical appointments. Where individual Reservists are undergoing continuing care and treatment after full-time service, Reserve unit chains of command to remain in regular contact with CFHS case managers and to take an active interest in the soldier's treatment programme.

The Government agrees that the military chain of command must be fully engaged in the health of their returning personnel. To ensure that returning Reservists complete all the necessary administration, interviews and medical appointments, DND has implemented a program known as the Reserve Medical Link Team whereby all returning Reservists are contacted and tracked to ensure that post-deployment screening is completed. To date, 90% of Primary Reserve members who participated in ROTO 5 of the CF mission in Afghanistan have been contacted, with final contact taking place 12 months after their return to Canada. Approximately 80% of Primary Reservists participating in ROTO 6 have now had initial contact. The Reserve Medical Link Team also liaises regularly with CF Case Managers and the situations of all Primary Reserve members requiring care are discussed in case conferences that review individual health care needs and management plans.

The Government has already taken steps to address the issue covered by this recommendation. The Reserve Medical Link Team has implemented a program that provides annual briefings on health benefits, entitlements, access to care, post-deployment screening and contact information. These annual briefings are mandatory for all members of a Reserve unit, with frequent additional briefings to the units' command elements, and include information on the recognition of the signs and symptoms of OSIs, as well as information on how to access treatment. This program covers a very broad range of mental health illnesses (including PTSD, anxiety, depression, sleep and other disorders, etc.) attributable to operations and each of these illnesses has its specific treatment regime.

In this program's first year of operations, 90% of target Army Reserve units were briefed. During its second year, Air and Naval Reserve units will be included. All remaining Reservists will be included in the third year of operations. In addition, the newly formed Joint Speakers Bureau which includes mental health clinicians and OSI veterans has been actively educating CF members and the chain of command at all stages of a member's career on mental health and the importance of creating a supportive environment so members can come forward early for care.

The Reserve Medical Link Team process has continued since its inception approximately 2 years ago. The process involves information briefings on entitlements to all Reserve stakeholders and staged contacts with deployed Reservists ending one year post return to Canada. To date, Primary Reserve members who participated in ROTO 5 of the CF mission in Afghanistan have been contacted a minimum of 3 or more times. The initial screening of this ROTO is considered complete. To note, there are individual cases of soldiers who, while initially self-reporting as well, have now reported concerns related to reintegration (i.e. sleeping problems, nightmares, family issues, and increased alcohol consumption). All of these members are being tracked and referred to appropriate agencies both internal and external to Defence. Initial screening of ROTO 6 has also been largely completed with approximately 77 % having responded to second contact at the 6 month point. ROTO 7 is still in progress with approximately 65% of the members having responded to initial contact. The Reserve Medical Link Team has recently begun contacting those members deploying in smaller numbers to other international operations which are on-going.
22. The Minister of National Defence and the Canadian Forces to continue to strive for the compassionate application of existing regulations regarding universality of service and minimum operational standards, to allow the continued employment of recovering soldiers, as long as such employment contributes to Canadian Forces operational requirements. DND and the CF always strive to treat their members with compassion, while also respecting the boundaries imposed by the principle of universality of service and the National Defence Act. There are currently a number of existing and planned policies designed to retain recovering CF personnel. For example, the CF is authorized to retain personnel who are unable to meet the full requirements of universality of service for a limited period of time as long as they are employable. In addition, there are opportunities available for personnel to serve in a Reserve Force component, which is not subject to the same condition of universality as the Regular and Primary Reserve Forces. Treating our injured men or women in uniform with compassion is the least we can do in respect for the sacrifice they are willing to make for their country.

Policy - Director General Military Careers will continue to work with the other agencies within Defence that are charged with the care of the ill and injured to ensure that ill and injured members are treated with compassion. However, the boundaries imposed by the principle of universality of service and the National Defence Act must also be considered. To this end, a special board has been stood up, chaired by Chief Military Personnel with senior membership from the environmental commands, to ensure that decisions on the future employment of members wounded in action receive consideration at the highest level possible. Likewise, policy has been put in place to allow for the retention of ill and injured personnel who breech the terms of Universality of Service, but are employable 5 days a week during normal working hours for a transition period of up to 3 years. On completion of this period, the Director of Casualty Support Management, in cooperation with the staffs of the JPSU and VA will ensure that the member receives the support required to transition to a civilian career, and ensure that they receive all of the pension/medical benefits associated with their condition. For those members whose condition does not allow them to be employed, they will be retained for a period of up to 6 months during which time the Director of Casualty Support Management, working with the agencies mentioned above will ensure a smooth transition plan into civilian life.

Career management - a cell of 3 dedicated career managers has been set up to manage the careers of the ill and injured. Once a CF member is posted to the SPHL, the management of their careers is turned over from their occupation CM to one of the 3 Ill and Injured CMs. These individuals will facilitate all necessary moves for the members' rehabilitation, they liaise with all of the other CF care providers on the members' behalf, they personally meet (either in person or through electronic means) with each of the ill and injured, they conduct annual briefings and interviews with the individuals and their CoCs, and they ensure, whenever possible, that career coursing continues if the individual's medical situation allows. Once the member has recovered, the CM for the Ill and Injured will then ensure that the member is transitioned back into his environment, and his or her career management is transitioned back to the environmental CM.

23. The Department of National Defence to immediately provide enhanced transportation resources (such as modern multi-passenger vans or highway cruiser buses and drivers) to isolated military bases to ensure that military personnel and family members have adequate transportation for access to out-of-town health care services and medical appointments. DND is currently looking at ways for ill and injured members, and the members of their families who are involved in their treatment, to have access to transportation to access out-of-town health care services, if required. In some locations, Base Commanders have also expended funds to secure accessible transport to enable those requiring assistance to attend appointments with health care providers. Ongoing. Vehicles are acquired as needed.
24. The Canadian Forces to remind personnel that they have an obligation to keep their families fully informed of medical and social support services available to them. The Canadian Forces to continue to encourage military families to engage those medical and social support services. The Government recognizes the important role families play in enabling the operational effectiveness of the CF and appreciates the unique nature of military life. Every effort is being made to encourage CF members and their families to use the support resources that are made available to them. In 2008, DND's Chief Military Personnel initiated a transformation initiative, specifically targeting the enhancement of support to military families. Throughout 2008 and 2009, extensive, broad-based consultations with CF leadership, families and service providers revealed deficiencies in the family support system, and recommended solutions to close the gap between identified family requirements and available services. The CF is examining these solutions and will consider making necessary adjustments to the services currently provided by the Military Family Resources Centres to ensure military families are aware of, and have access to, available medical and social support services in their community.

In response to Chief Military Personnel's transformation initiative, a CF family service enhancement strategy was developed to address family support deficiencies in the following key:

  • Child Care;
  • Transition Services (Education, Employment, Access to Health Care);
  • Family Separation and Reunion; and
  • Mental Health and Social Support.

Twenty-one projects were piloted, generating numerous recommendations on family program, service and policy additions, expansions and revisions. Based on the successful results of several of the pilot projects, the following initiatives were implemented:

  • Family Information Line: A staffed 1-800 line to support families' navigation of existing policy, information and services;
  • FamilyForce.ca: A web-based portal connecting CF families to local, national and international information, services and resources;
  • National Military Family Council: A volunteer advisory council to provide a voice for military families to Armed Forces Council;
  • Community Wellness Index: A standardized assessment of the health of each CF community;
  • Family Liaison Officer: Dedicated support to the families of CF personnel with an illness, injury, or special need; and
  • Casualty Support Child Care: Child care services for the families of the ill and injured and the families of the fallen.
25. In conjunction with other Federal Healthcare Partnership stakeholders, the Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Forces to hold an annual national conference on best practices and advancements in military health care overall, with special emphasis on mental health care. The Government has begun exploring ways of increasing the interest of Canadian mental health professionals in CF and Veterans issues. In this spirit, a joint VAC-DND Mental Health Information Exchange Symposium, featuring mental health experts was held on 22 January 2009, in Ottawa with participants from DND, VAC, the RCMP and other Government departments. In addition, staff from VAC, as well as from VAC-funded OSI clinics, present in major conferences in relation to operational stress injuries, such as those of the Canadian Psychology Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse. The Government of Canada will be providing further opportunities for the sharing of best practices and advancements in mental health care by organizing a symposium on psychological trauma and operational stress to be held in 2011 in partnership with the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. The Government will also continue to leverage regional education events/conferences that build upon the work already carried out by the CF Health Services Civilian-Military Co-operation Team, with the "Care to the Wounded Soldier Initiative." This initiative involved a series of educational events that brought health care providers and senior health care administrators within geographical regions together to participate in briefings on the health needs of the CF ill and injured soldiers, including mental health care needs, and proved very successful as a forum for information sharing. Completed, although by its nature this will be a process that is continually ongoing.
32. The Canadian Forces to regularly review the composition of the Operational Trauma Stress Support Centre multi-disciplinary teams and remain open to the addition or use of clinical professionals not traditionally found in the military health care system, such as registered marriage and family therapists and that the services thereof be added to the dependents' Extended Health Care schedule of covered benefits. The Government has already taken action in this direction. The present teams are composed of the following professionals who are members of a professional regulatory organization with the accompanying provincial statutory authority: family physicians, psychiatrists, social workers, mental health nurses and psychologists. Presently registered marriage and family therapists are regulated only in Quebec and are seeking regulatory status in other provinces. Once they are regulated the CF will assess their potential contribution to the care of CF members and their families, as well as their potential addition to the dependents' Extended Health Care schedule of covered benefits.

As part of their mandate, the Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centre programs review national and international literature on trauma, with a focus on issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder. The Canadian Forces utilizes evidence-based best practices as endorsed by organizations such as the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Before considering a treatment or technique, it must be supported by objective evidence of its efficacy which normally requires randomized controlled trials published in peer reviewed journals.

Progressive action has been and continues to be taken in the areas of both treatment and of prevention of mental illness and operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

33. The Canadian Forces to provide this Committee, the Auditor General of Canada and the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman with a full, unclassified update of the status of the Canadian Forces Health Information System, along with a meaningful explanation of when it will reach full operational capacity.

34. The federal government to move immediately to provide the necessary resources to reach full operational capability of the Canadian Forces Health Information Systems project, with the assistance of a database.

The CF Health Services Group would be pleased to provide additional briefings on the Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS) and its future needs. As such, the CF Health Services Group will develop a presentation and make arrangements to set up briefings for the Committee, the Auditor General and the CF Ombudsman as outlined in recommendation 33. These briefings could take place this fall. A revised schedule and costing should be available this fall and will be shared with the Committee, the Auditor General and the CF Ombudsman as part of the briefings.

The CFHIS will improve the management of health information that is created within CF facilities. However, CF members also receive care from the public health care system. Accordingly, full operational capability of the CFHIS will not be realized until the CFHIS is rolled out to each CF Clinic and then connected to the emerging pan-Canadian Electronic Health Record. This will then allow care providers in both the CF and the public health care system to have complete health information. As recommended, the CF, as a member of the FHP, is collaborating with other federal organizations with similar needs in a whole of government effort towards identifying the requirements for federal participation in the pan-Canadian Electronic Health Record.

The Canadian Forces Health Information System (CFHIS) Project continues to be on budget and during the reporting period sought TB approval for a 23-month extension to allow the roll-out of the system to all CF clinics and ships. CFHIS has also been identified by the TB Secretariat Chief Information Officer (CIO) as a model for other departments with health care delivery responsibilities. Federal Healthcare Partnership (FHP) continues to progress the development of an interface that will allow the relevant federal departments to link with civilian electronic health records systems.

35. The federal government to initiate cooperative programs with provincial and territorial governments, to offer incentives to qualified professional health care workers, to provide their services to Canadian Forces personnel and their families, in locations where there is a shortage of such services.

36. The federal government to continue to work in cooperation with provincial and territorial governments to enhance relationships between local community health and social services to enhance and Canadian Forces health care services.

In fact, much of the mechanics to facilitate such cooperation are already in place. As indicated in Recommendations 5 and 25, forums for discussions with Provinces and Territories and regional and local health authorities are in place. These include, but are not limited to, the Advisory Committee on Health Delivery and Human Resources, the Health Human Resources Partnership and Planning Sub-Committee, and the activities led by the CF Health Services Group. In Ontario, Memoranda of Understanding between the CF and the Local Health Integration Networks are being developed to facilitate access to community health services. As previously mentioned, the FHP Partners have also instituted the Office of Health Human Resources to build health services capacity within the federal government enabling the CF, for example, to better service its members, including families. The FHP, appreciating the value of further developing the relationships with Provinces and Territories, has invited one of the Co-Chairs of the Advisory Committee on Health Delivery and Human Resources to attend FHP Executive Committee meetings. This provides a vehicle to keep the FHP partner organizations up to date on activities with Provinces and Territories and a forum through which the FHP partners can raise issues they are facing and on which they would like to work collaboratively with Provinces and Territories to address. With respect to service members, the actions outlined in the Government response have been completed and liaison/cooperation with the various partners is ongoing at the national and local levels. Responsibility for actions relating to dependents does not lie with the CF.


20th Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, "Chapter 5, Financial Management and Control - National Defence of the Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Canada" (Adopted by the Committee on November 18, 2009; Presented to the House on December 3, 2009)
Original report
Government response

Recommendation Government Response/Commitment Status
1. National Defence to provide the Public Accounts Committee with a report by 31 December 2010 on the progress in implementing the recommendations made in Chapter 5 of the Auditor General's Spring 2009 Report. The Government accepts this recommendation. Following the release of the Auditor General's 2009 Report, DND developed an action plan to chart its progress on implementing the recommendations made by the Auditor General. This action plan was presented to the Public Accounts Committee on September 28th, 2009. Some of the progress already underway includes the development of a new corporate strategy that will help establish clearer links between day-to-day activities of the Department and overall Government Direction, as outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy; the development of a Program Activity Architecture that demonstrates how Defence programs achieve strategic outcomes; and the implementation of a new financial management governance structure with the appointment of DND's first Chief Financial Officer and the establishment of the Defence Finance Committee and the Defence Strategic Executive Committee. DND will continue to follow through on the action plan and will provide a progress report to the Committee by December 31st, 2010. See "Response to the Auditor General".


1st Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, 40th Parliament, 2nd Session, "Chapter 4, Military Health Care - National Defence of the October 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada" (Adopted by the Committee on February 12, 2009; Presented to the House on February 25, 2009)
Original report
Government response

Recommendation Government Response/Commitment Status
1. National Defence to provide the Public Accounts Committee with a detailed progress report by 31 October 2008 on the implementation of its plan to address deficiencies identified by the Office of the Auditor General in its audit on Military Health Care. The Government accepts this recommendation, with the necessary revision to the timeline. The Government has developed an action plan intended to address the recommendations contained in the Auditor General's report on military health care. This action plan was presented to the Public Accounts Committee on 31 January 2008. An updated action plan was provided to the Auditor General in spring 2009. DND intends to provide the Committee with a copy of this updated action plan, which includes details on progress to date, by the end of June 2009. Progress towards achievement of these recommendations will be provided to the Auditor General on a regular basis. Copies of these reports will be provided to the Committee as they become available. Updates are forwarded through Chief Military Personnel to Chief Review Services and updates should be provided to OAG through appropriate channels. Defence agreed to provide this same update to SCOPA but has not done so.
2. National Defence to provide information in its annual Departmental Performance Report on the aggregate costs of the military health care system, as well as the number of physicians, nurses, pharmacists, medical technicians, and physician's assistants employed in that system. The Government accepts this recommendation. DND will report this information in the Fiscal Year 2009/10 Departmental Performance Report. In future years, DND will also look for other ways to make this information available to the public. Currently, in the military health care system the CF employs 169 physicians (including specialists);182 nurses (excluding 60 in the process of completing mandatory preceptorship); 40 pharmacists; 29 social workers; 1299 med techs; and 139 physician assistants. In September 2009, the CF Health Services commissioned an independent, external costing review of the delivery of health care to CF members. This study, conducted by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) Consulting Services, sought to determine the relative cost per capita of health services delivered to CF members compared to services provided to an equivalent Canadian population and to determine the reasons for any differences. The study identified the aggregate cost of the CF Health System to be $684M and found that the CF Health Services delivered the equivalent services at a lower cost than the Canadian health care system.
3. National Defence to conduct a comprehensive survey by 30 June 2009 of the state of mental health of CF members and the quality of mental health care services they and their families receive, with a special emphasis on those returning from overseas operations. The Government accepts the intent of this recommendation and has already been working towards its implementation. Two surveys are currently underway as a part of a regular program to determine areas of personnel support in need of updating. The first survey, Canadian Forces Health and Lifestyle Information Survey (2008), will help determine the state of mental health in the CF, as well as develop a picture of the overall health and fitness of CF personnel. The survey contains significant emphasis on mental health issues including questions on depression, mental distress, post traumatic stress disorder and suicide. In addition there is a large section on the utilization of mental health services and patient satisfaction. The survey is sent to a random selection of CF members and will be compared to previous surveys. The survey was sent out in three cycles to take into account seasonal variations in factors such as physical activity. The first cycle was sent out in the fall of 2008. While the results of all three phases will not be ready to analyze until fall 2009, preliminary mental health results could be available by July 2009. The second survey (entitled Your Say) measures the attitudes of CF personnel and their families towards the CF and its quality of life programs. The next version of the survey will be sent to CF members in June 2009 and will contain questions to measure the availability of mental health resources for CF members and their families. Capturing the views of those returning from overseas operations is particularly important to ensuring the CF health system meets the needs of members. In addition to the two surveys, on completion of lengthy deployments, CF members receive briefings on mental health issues and have an opportunity to discuss, in private, any personal concerns with a mental health provider, including concerns related to the availability of services. Ninety to 180 days after returning to Canada, members are required to complete a detailed health questionnaire and an in-depth interview with a mental health professional to discuss any outstanding issues. The first of the two surveys identified in the Government response, The CFHLIS (2008) has been completed and analysed. The resulting report has been produced and is going through the staffing process. Release of the final report is anticipated no later than end summer 2010.
4. National Defence to report in its annual Departmental Performance Report on the status and implementation of the Canadian Forces Health Information System, including whether the system is on budget and on time. The Government accepts this recommendation. DND will report this information in the Fiscal Year 2009/10 Departmental Performance Report. In future years, DND will also look for other ways to make this information available to the public. The CFHIS Project continues to be on budget and during the reporting period sought Treasury Board approval for a 23-month extension to allow the roll-out of the system to all CF clinics and ships.
5. National Defence to confirm in its annual performance report that all physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists are licensed to practice and that all medical technicians and physician assistants are certified. National Defence also to confirm the number of practitioners who take advantage of the Maintenance of Clinical Skills program. The Government accepts this recommendation. DND will report this information in the Fiscal Year 2009/10 Departmental Performance Report. In future years, DND will also look for other ways to make this information available to the public. Licenses- The National Credentialing Cell maintains a database of licensed/certified CF clinical practitioners. Maintenance of Clinical Skills Program (MCSP)- Since 2009, the MCSP Cell has instituted a detailed accounting of clinical practitioners who participated in nationally funded MCSP activities. In fiscal year 2009-10, the following participated in MCSP - Regular Force: nurses- 56 (24%); generalist physicians- 144 (78%); physician assistants-80 ( 52%); medical technicians- 152 (14%), dentists- 8 (80% of dentists in non-clinical positions). The majority of CF generalist medical officers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental technicians, operating room, laboratory and radiology technicians are employed in CF clinical positions where they obtain clinical practice daily. All physician specialists and most new nurse graduates work in civilian institutions and are in full-time clinical positions. Many Regular Force clinicians also participate in MCSP locally where no funding is required and these numbers are not presently captured by the National MCSP Cell. However, a MCSP Activity Evaluation Survey was implemented 1 April 2010 which all Regular and Reserve Force CF clinicians are required to complete when participating in any MCSP activity. This data will be captured in a national database to provide a true representation of MCSP participation. In preparation for deployment, all CF clinicians are required to participate in MCSP; however, their numbers are not captured under the normal MCSP due to their Operations category. Reservist clinicians normally work in their clinical environments in their civilian jobs and therefore usually only require some clinical time in a CF clinical-related environment each year to maintain military competencies for which we had 95 participants in fiscal year 2009-10. Reserve medical technicians also have a robust Unit MCSP training program in which participation is mandatory on a regular basis.
6. National Defence to develop a governance framework for its military health care system that involves senior leadership, health care providers, and Canadian Forces members using the system. The Government accepts this recommendation. The CF is continually seeking new ways to involve members in the administration of programs. The CF will review the current CF Health System governance structure to identify possible areas for improvement, with a particular focus on the need for user and healthcare provider input. The CF has begun to address the Committee's concerns with the military health care governance system. For example, the Spectrum of Care Committee is now chaired by the Assistant Chief Military Personnel and reports to the Chief of the Defence Staff. This committee is responsible for determining the medical procedures and benefits to be made available to CF personnel. It is made up of senior leaders from Canada Command, Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command, and Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, as well as health services providers and senior leaders from Military Personnel Command. CF members in the system are represented on the Committee by their senior officers. Their views are also communicated to the Committee through the results of the Canadian Forces Health and Lifestyle Information Survey and the Your Say survey. As a result of the Spectrum of Care Committee's membership, and by raising the approval level to the Chief of the Defence Staff, the CF can now ensure that the medical system reacts to the needs of its senior leadership in implementation of Government policies and directions. Canadian Forces Health Services is firmly embedded in a well-defined and robust command and governance structure, which is horizontally linked and vertically connected to all Defence organizations. With respect to Health Care and service to our CF members, Canadian Forces Health Services Group (CF H Svcs Gp) manages the Canadian Forces Spectrum of Care (SoC). The CF H Svcs Gp has a direct reporting function for command and control, governance, as well as business planning to CMP, recognizing and respecting the uniqueness of the CF Health Care system. Even though health services is clearly one of Defence's main lines of operation, there are also other intricate relationships for the CF H Svcs Gp within the CF framework at large, Defence and other government departments. One such example is the Surgeon General's direct linkage to the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff. The CF H Svcs Gp is Canada's fourteenth healthcare system and is the life-blood of the CF, providing excellent health care to all CF members, wherever they serve.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Office of the Auditor General (OAG)
During the reporting period the Auditor General (AG) and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development tabled two audit reports in Parliament focused specifically on National Defence-Chapter 5 of the May 09 tabling titled "Financial Management and Control" and Chapter 5 of the November 09 tabling titled "Acquiring Military Vehicles for Use in Afghanistan".

In the Chapter on "Financial Management and Control" the AG concluded that although the Department had taken steps to strengthen financial management and control, the Department could not demonstrate that these support the financial management of resources, corporate planning and decision making, especially for the medium to long term; that the implementation of Integrated Risk Management in the Department has been slow; and that the existing governance structure is not focussed on financial management.

In the Chapter on "Acquiring Military Vehicles for Use in Afghanistan", for the four vehicles examined, the AG concluded that National Defence was able to quickly provide three of these vehicles to address operational needs, although not always with all required capabilities. The AG reported that one of the vehicles was two years behind schedule and that the numbers of this vehicle available for operations had been affected by an underestimation of the vehicles needed for training. The AG reported that the Department's Project Approval Guide was consistent with TB's project management policies, but that the four large, urgent projects were not managed in accordance with this Guide.

These two Chapters, including departmental responses to the Auditor General's recommendations, can be accessed on the Auditor General's website at the following link: OAG Latest Audit Reports

In May 09 the Auditor General also tabled "Health and Safety Issues in Federal Office Buildings". This report focused primarily on Public Works and Government Services Canada, but, in the portion of the report dealing with fire safety, also included three recommendations directed at National Defence and a number of other departments and agencies. These can also be viewed at the above web link. In November 09 the AG tabled a Chapter focused on Public Safety Canada and titled, "Emergency Management". Although DND was included in the audit along with other federal departments and agencies, no recommendations were directed at the Department. Chapter 1 of the November 09 Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development report was addressed to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) and entitled, "Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act". Aside from the Agency, the audit scope involved twelve other entities, including National Defence, but all recommendations were addressed at the Agency.

During the reporting period, in response to the annual request by the Auditor General, National Defence provided updates on the status of all OAG audit recommendations tabled in Parliament during the five-year period 2004-05 to 2008-09.


External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) conducted an audit on language of instruction (LOI) in the CF and on the training management framework to determine whether the CF promotes and delivers training in the official language (OL) of its members' choice. The Commissioner made public the final report on 2 June 2010. It consists of his recommendations, the CF action plan and his response to the action. This report, including recommendations and responses, is available on the OCOL website.

The OCOL had looked at the CF periodically over the past years, and certain issues linger. These include, but are not restricted to, deficiencies in strategic and operational planning leading to IT&E plans, framework and delivery of courses (courses not available in both OLs, material not available in both OLs, and a lack of bilingual instructors), and lack of integration of OLs as a vital component of career management. This audit took a comprehensive look at the LOI for all CF individual training provided to officers and non-commissioned members from all Training Authorities. The findings and recommendations that will emanate from the OCOL's final audit report will assist in improving CF OLA compliance and, ultimately, in offering all CF members the possibility of being trained in their OL of choice.

Sources: Assistant Deputy Minister (Policy) Group; Chief Military Personnel Group; Chief Review Services Group

National Research Council Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts, in follow-up to the chapter on intellectual property in the Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General (AG), invited departments and agencies named in the chapter, including NRC, to appear before the Committee on November 16, 2009 to discuss the AG's recommendations and to table action plans. Only one of the AG's recommendations pertained to NRC, specifically that NRC more accurately identify the intellectual property expected to result from Crown procurement contracts and ensure that it is accurately reported. NRC's action plan to address this concern has been fully implemented. NRC was identified by both the AG and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts as being a source of best practices and expertise for federal intellectual property management and is currently examining the feasibility of tailoring some of its existing offerings for other departmental mandates.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
The OAG made recommendations emanating from their follow-up in 2007 to their 2004 performance audit of NRC Management of Leading Edge Research pertaining to governance, human resource management, business planning, research project management and performance data collection and reporting. All of the recommendations have been fully implemented. Web links: 2004 report; 2007 report.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
NRC was one of 18 departments scoped in the Office of the Comptroller General's Horizontal Internal Audit of High-Risk Expenditure Controls in Large Departments and Agencies. Of the seven recommendations identified in the report, four were applicable to NRC; these included developing policies and procedures to guide risk based account verification processes, management representation for identifying risks, sampling of low risk payments, and reporting of results. All of the recommendations have been fully implemented.

NRC was one of eight departments scoped in the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman's Procurement Practices Review of Verification of Suppliers' Records, which recommended that departments include a guideline for how and when to use the audit provision for cost-reimbursable contracts. While no management action plan was required, NRC will take into consideration risks posed by these contracts when identifying audit risks. The summary findings of this report are included in the Procurement Ombudsman's Annual Report.

Natural Resources Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

On October 9, 2009 the Minister of Natural Resources presented to the House of Commons the Government's response to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources' report entitled Combining our Energies: Integrated Energy Systems for Canadian Communities that was presented to the House on June 17, 2009. The response addresses each of the report's nine recommendations in detail.

This response can be found online at:
http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4140521&
Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2


Response to the Office of the Auditor General (OAG)

As a result of the new Audit Policy, the OAG annually sends the Audit Branch all the previous recommendations it has made to NRCan that are not considered completed for an update.  For 2009-10, the department was asked to update and assess the status of previous recommendations.  Responses were provided accordingly by the audited entities and assessed by the Audit Branch according to their responses.  We however, cannot provide assurance on the responses. 

The OAG audits included:

2005 – 04 OAG Chapter 1 –NRCan– Governance and Strategic Management

For more information on this audit, go to 
http://oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200504_01_e_14932.html  

Recommendation 1.45
OAG recommends that NRCan should develop a corporate strategic plan to ensure that all sectors address key aspects of its legislation and government priorities. To do so, it should implement a systematic strategic planning process across all sectors.

Response: NRCan has continued to steer the development and implementation of corporate-level planning. Working through a DG level task group, a corporate planning network, and the Strategic Planning & Reporting Division, the Departmental Management Committee (DMC) guides the implementation of the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) processes on a consistent basis across the Department. A DG-level committee led the development of a 2010-13 integrated business plan and of the NRCan story. 

Recommendation 1.56
OAG recommended that NRCan should improve its governance processes specifically with respect to mandates, resources, roles, and responsibilities for the managers of horizontal issues; and develop more strategic governance processes promptly to ensure that its strategies and actions are coherent and that they adequately address key aspects of its legislation and government priorities and are effectively monitored.

Response: NRCan has been undergoing a process of departmental renewal, spurred by the need to develop a more collaborative, integrated and results-based organization. The recent strategic assessment review of priority and performance of NRCan programs and improvements to the governance processes has illustrated how the department had been responsive to the government's agenda in recent years.  NRCan has examined its roles to determine where it can best lead and how it can best help Canada harness the full value of all of its assets to build a stronger, more resilient resource economy. 
 
Recommendation 1.66
OAG recommended that NRCan should determine and obtain the industry information that it needs to support strategic decision making by producing it internally or obtaining it from outside sources.

Response:  Providing decision-makers with the appropriate information, including industry information, has been a major area of focus for NRCan as information and knowledge have always been at the cornerstone of the department's business. Efforts have focused on means to identify what knowledge was required and facilitate its sharing and integration in support to strategic decision making. NRCan’s governance structure and the various tools put in place (wiki, blogs, etc) enable staff to share it.  The various branches of the Science and Policy Integration sector have and will continue to integrate that information through information-sharing products such as the weekly Natural Resource Dashboard, the monthly Economic Monitor, the annual Report on Plans and Priorities, etc or through documents supporting policy or management-related decisions such as decks, briefing notes, TBS submissions, Memorandum to Cabinet.

Recommendation 1.74
OAG recommended that NRCan should document the competencies and capacities of its current workforce, develop a clear understanding of the competencies and capacities that it will need to develop or acquire to replace the large percentage of key staff eligible to retire in the next few years, and develop and implement a human resources plan that aligns the competencies required with future business needs.   

Response: In October 2009, NRCan launched its "one department" integrated business approach to planning and reporting to integrate corporate enablers into one cohesive departmental plan. The integrated business planning process was supported with integrated planning tools, which were completed at the sub-sub activity level.  A governance structure was established to guide the development of the business plan.  NRCan's first integrated business plan was submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) in early March 2010.

Recommendation 1.96
OAG recommended that NRCan should develop plans and improve its risk analyses to deal with its responsibilities in emergency situations. In particular, NRCan should develop, in co-ordination with other key stakeholders, emergency plans in the areas where it is required to respond to civil emergencies, particularly where it has the lead federal role; and re-examine its risk assessment guidance and apply risk assessment processes consistently across its five operational sectors, including applying a more coherent analysis of the economic impact of potential threats.

Response: Following Public Safety endorsement, NRCan has transitioned from Civil Emergency Plans to a new suite of Emergency Management Plans which came into force on October 1, 2009.  Selected plans were exercised and tested in the series of exercises leading to the Vancouver Olympics Games (Ex SILVER and Ex GOLD).  Exercises requirements are captured in the Emergency Management Planning Directive and are scheduled on a regular basis.

Recommendation 1.111
OAG recommended that NRCan should improve its performance measurement framework and reporting to provide parliamentarians with better information on the results and outcomes of its programs. In particular, it should develop a systematic process for linking performance targets at the corporate level with business plans; and improve its performance reports by including an analysis of its legislated mandate, linking the Department's priorities to government priorities and rationalizing its assessment of its performance against various frameworks.

Response: The 2009-10 strategic review assessment identified improvements required to performance indicators at the strategic outcome and program activity levels.  The department moved quickly and refined its Program Activity Architecture and developed a series of new performance indicators for 2010-11.  A systematic initiative for continuous improvement of the NRCan Performance Measurement Framework is now embedded in the NRCan's annual planning cycle.  Each fall, the department has the opportunity to review its performance indicators at the sub activity levels. 

2006 – 09 CESD Chapter 1 – Managing the Federal Approach to Climate Change

For more information on this audit, go to 
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200609_01_e_14983.html

Recommendation 1.44
It was recommended that NRCan should ensure that the model, data and results from the 2005 memorandum of understanding with the automotive industry are independently verified and that the results of the publication are reported publicly.

Response: NRCan is has identified an independent third-party to perform a verification of the accounting model used to measure auto industry’s progress against the first interim target established in the memorandum of understanding, and the contracting process is underway. The report on the 2007 interim goal is expected to be released by the end of the 2009/10 fiscal year.
 
Recommendation 1.45
It was recommended that in any future voluntary agreements, NRCan should establish requirements similar to those found in Environment Canada’s 2001 Policy Framework for Environmental Performance Agreements. While the automotive industry agreement addresses many of these requirements, at a minimum, such future agreements should include
-senior-level commitment by involved parties,
-clearly identified environmental objectives,
-baseline levels measured at the beginning of the agreement,
-clear targets with timelines,
-meaningful performance measures,
-clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all parties,
-consequences for failing to meet targets and incentives for achieving them,
-periodic public reporting requirements,
-provision for regular credible verification, and
-regular evaluation of the agreement to determine progress and options for implementing corrective action, where necessary.

Response: No such voluntary agreements have been established by the OEE since the last update. Obsolete here means N/A.

2006 – 09 CESD Chapter 2 – Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

For more information on this audit, go to 
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200609_02_e_14984.html

Recommendation 2.56
It was recommended that NRCan work with other federal departments and agencies to produce or use information needed for adaptation efforts and with other levels of government and stakeholders, Environment Canada and NRCan should identify and fill gaps in the needed information, including results of impacts and adaptation research and results from climate science; and identify the demand for initiatives that provide decision makers with access to information and technical expertise on adaptation tailored to their needs. Based on that work, they should strengthen existing initiatives and establish others, as required.

Response: As of March 2010, NRCan has signed contribution agreements to implement Regional Adaptation Collaboratives in 5 regions covering all of southern Canada.  NRCan expects to have arrangements in place for the North by May 2010.

2006 – 09 CESD Chapter 3 – Reducing Greenhouse Gases Emitted During Energy Production and Consumption

For more information on this audit, go to 
http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200609_03_e_14985.html

Recommendation 3.27
It was recommended that NRCan should lead the development of a wind power strategy for Canada, in collaboration with the provinces and wind industry. The strategy should provide a vision for wind power in Canada and identify what governments will do to support it, and over what timeframe.

Response: NRCan developed a discussion paper entitled Towards an Enabling Wind Energy Policy Framework in Canada which was the subject of consultations with industry, utilities, environmental groups and provinces in Ottawa and Montreal over the course of 2008. In 2009, NRCan completed the development of a Wind Technology Roadmap, an industry-led report that identifies key issues for wind energy development in Canada and makes recommendations for government and industry. Through the Discussion paper and the Technology Roadmap, NRCan is continuing to support the development of a vision for wind power in Canada.

Recommendation 3.32
It was recommended that NRCan should complete the evaluation of the Wind Power Production Incentive that it committed to in 2002. It should also complete a thorough economic analysis to clarify the extent to which the economics of wind power are changing across Canada and whether there are implications for this program.

Response: NRCan has developed a comprehensive financial model to assess levelized unit cost of wind energy, the impacts of the ecoENERGY for Renewable power program incentive and federal tax measures on the economics of wind power. The model and its results have been the subject of consultations with other Departments and the Wind Energy Industry. The evaluation of the WPPI Program started in 2009 and it is expected to be completed in April 2010.

Recommendation 3.61
It was recommended that NRCan, on behalf of the Government of Canada should make clear to Parliament by the end of 2006 how and to what degree the country will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector, both in the immediate and longer term. At the same time, NRCan should develop a corresponding implementation plan.

Response: NRCan recognizes the importance of addressing greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector. The Government has aligned its GHG reduction target with that of the US, committing to reduce Canada's GHG emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.
Environment Canada (EC) is the lead department for the implementation of the Government's plan to address GHG emissions. NRCan has been engaged in the development of Canada's climate change agenda and will continue to work with EC officials on policy issues related to GHG emissions in the oil and gas sector.

Recommendation 3.66
It was recommended that NRCan should ensure that clear and concrete greenhouse gas reduction targets are established for each of its programs funded for this purpose. The Department should provide clear and detailed information to Parliament about the performance of its programs compared with greenhouse gas emission targets, and the costs incurred.

Response: Estimates of GHG emissions reductions achieved and expenses incurred by NRCan's ecoENERGY programs are reported through the annual Clean Air Agenda Horizontal Performance Reports, which are submitted to Parliament as part of Environment Canada's Departmental Performance Report.  As well, NRCan's programs are included in the Government's annual Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, which provides updates on each program's expected emissions reductions during the 2008-2012 period. 

Recommendation 3.68
It was recommended that NRCan should establish consistent practices for financial management and reporting of authorized funding and spending at the program level.

Response: To ensure effective interdepartmental management of clean air initiatives, NRCan is participating with 8 federal departments in the Horizontal Management Accountability and Reporting Framework (HMARF) for the Clean Air Agenda. The HMARF (approved by the Treasury Board on April 3, 2008) establishes consistent practices for the management and reporting of financial information at the program level. In particular, the HMARF provides an integrated view of CAA resources traceable to sources of funds, including allocations from the fiscal framework, and linked to results. NRCan's financial management and reporting practices are aligned with the requirements established under HMARF. For instance, NRCan reports annually on program-level spending through the CAA Horizontal Performance Report, and on planned spending through the CAA Horizontal Report on Plans and Priorities.

For further information, please contact NRCan’s Internal Audit Branch.


KPMG audit of the Geomatics Canada Revolving Fund
KPMG opined that the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the GCRF as of March 31, 2009, and the results of its operations and the changes in its financial position for the year then ended in accordance with the accounting principles for revolving funds of the Government of Canada. This is the fifteenth consecutive year since the inception of the GCRF that external auditors have issued an unqualified opinion on the financial statements of the Fund.

Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying of Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
OCL has nothing to report for the current reporting period.


Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
OCL has nothing to report for the current reporting period.


External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
OCL has nothing to report for the current reporting period.

Parks Canada Agency

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
There were no recommendations to Parks Canada Agency from Parliamentary Committees in 2009/2010.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

The Office of the Auditor General completed an external audit of the 2008-2009 Financial Statements of Parks Canada Agency.


External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

Horizontal Internal Audit of Corporate Risk Profiles in Large Departments and Agencies -The Office of the Comptroller General conducted an audit of systems and practices for organizational risk management in 13 large departments and agencies, including Parks Canada, to provide assurance that strategies exist for identifying and mitigating risks. The report concluded that large departments and agencies have made a concerted effort to develop corporate risk profiles, however improvements still need to be made. The Agency positively received the recommendations and is committed to pursuing the improvements.


Privy Council Office

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to the Auditor General

The following three audit activities impacting PCO were reported during 2009-10 by the Office of the Auditor General:

Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 1 — Gender-Based Analysis (GBA)

The audit examined the implementation of GBA in government, including the role played by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), the Department of Finance Canada, and PCO in challenging whether departments and agencies had identified potential gender impacts of proposals submitted for Cabinet approval.  The audit also examined the role played by Status of Women Canada in supporting the implementation of GBA.

Commitments made by PCO, TBS and Status of Women Canada in response to the Auditor General’s recommendations are contained in the Departmental Action Plan on Gender-Based Analysis, tabled with the Public Accounts Committee The action plan seeks to clarify roles and responsibilities of federal organizations and provides a framework to strengthen the use of GBA.   Commitments made by PCO through the Action Plan include: continuing to work with Status of Women Canada and all departments to help the Government meet its GBA commitment, undertaking informal consultations with departments on GBA mechanisms and expectations, continuing to provide guidance to departments bringing forward policy and program proposals and challenging them to consider gender issues; and continuing to provide regular training for analysts on GBA.

Auditor General Report

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_e_32545.html

Departmental Action Plan on Gender-Based Analysis

http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pol/gba-acs/ap-pa/ap-pa-eng.pdf

2009 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 7 — Emergency Management - Public Safety Canada

The audit looked at the role of Public Safety Canada in the area of emergency management and critical infrastructure protection.  The Report was critical of Public Safety's leadership role to date in organizing and coordinating the federal emergency management community.  Of the Report’s five recommendations, one implicated PCO.  Specifically, the recommendation stated that, "The Privy Council Office and Public Safety Canada should ensure that all components of the Federal Emergency Response Plan are completed and obtain government approval for it." The Federal Emergency Response Plan was presented to and approved by the Foreign Affairs and Security Cabinet Committee on December 9, 2009 and ratified the following day.  The Emergency Support Functions, key components of the Federal Emergency Response Plan, are due to go to Foreign Affairs and Security Cabinet Committee early fall 2010.

May 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 3—Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings

The study examined how responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of federal employees working in Public Works and Government Services Canada-administered office buildings is shared among Public Works and Government Services Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and individual departments whose employees work in those buildings.  The study also assessed whether departments were planning for fire emergencies in compliance with key requirements, including conducting required fire drills, and whether they adhered to the applicable policies and standards.

The report’s 11 recommendations were addressed to a number of departments.  Three of these recommendations required a response from PCO.  For buildings where PCO is the majority tenant, PCO agreed to prepare and administer fire safety plans and share the information with the other tenants, and to ensure that a fire emergency organization is established and maintained.  For buildings where PCO is not the majority tenant, PCO agreed to obtain a copy of the fire safety plans established and administered by the majority tenant, and to be a member of the fire emergency organization established by the majority tenant.  PCO also committed to hold or, through the fire emergency organization, participate in at least one evacuation drill every year for each building it occupies.

http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_03_e_32516.html

Public Health Agency of Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Third Report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

The link Government Response to the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food – Subcommittee on Food Safety Beyond The Listeriosis Crisis: Strengthening The Food Safety System was tabled in Parliament on September 14, 2009. The Government Response, which coincided with the announcement of the Government’s Action Plan in Response to the Report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008 Listeriosis Outbreak, focussed on addressing immediate food safety risks; enhanced surveillance and early detection; and improving government response to food-borne illness emergencies.

On March 31, 2010, the Government of Canada posted on its Food Safety Web Portal a progress report titled link Government of Canada - Progress on Food Safety. This report provides details of the progress made by Health Canada (HC), PHAC and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on reducing food safety risks; enhancing surveillance and early detection; and improving emergency response.  PHAC’s reported progress focussed on the two latter areas.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts

In their link May 2009 Report, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts following the Auditor General’s link May 2008 Office of the Auditor General Report on the Surveillance of Infectious Diseases recommended that:

  1. PHAC provide an interim status report to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on its progress in implementing the Office of the Auditor General’s (OAG) recommendations by September 30, 2009, and that additional status reports be submitted to the Committee annually until the recommendations are fully implemented;
  2. HC and PHAC provide the PAC by September 30, 2009, with a clear timeline for a legislative review which would determine whether additional statutory authorities are necessary;
  3. PHAC provide the PAC by September 30, 2009, with a proposed timeline for negotiating information sharing agreements with the provinces and territories, and report progress in making these agreements in its annual status report to the Committee;
  4. PHAC provide the PAC with its assessment of core surveillance and response capacity requirements by September 30, 2009, along with a timeline detailing how it intends to meet the World Health Organization Regulations by the mandatory deadline of 2012; and
  5. PHAC include in its Departmental Performance Reports an outline of the challenges and risks it faces as an organization; and that PHAC provide a balanced appraisal of the results it has achieved in improving its surveillance activities.

Agency Response:

In September 2009, the Minister of Health tabled the Government Response to the May 2009 PAC Report on the Implementation of the Auditor General (AG) Recommendations on the Surveillance of Infectious Diseases.  As part of the Government Response to the PAC, PHAC provided a status report on progress in implementing the AG recommendations, and committed to providing annual status reports until the AG recommendations are fully implemented.

In addition, in April 2010, PHAC, through the Minister of Health, provided the PAC with an annual status report on the progress in implementing the AG recommendations. The report, also presented to the OAG in April 2010, is summarized in the next section below.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

A Summary of Chapter 5, of the link May 2008 OAG Report on the Surveillance of Infectious Diseases is presented above, along with its five recommendations.

PHAC has made continued progress in implementing the AG recommendations.

An annual status report was presented to the AG in April 2010. To date, 8 of the 12 recommendations are either fully or substantially implemented. For the remaining four recommendations, plans and timelines are in place to achieve full implementation. The following examples highlight a number of significant developments that took place in 2009-10:

  • Management of the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-10 led to important enhancements to PHAC’s internal information and response management systems. For example, it resulted in: improvements to the Agency’s internal response capacity (mobilization of staff); the development and implementation of an Incident Management Structure; the development of comprehensive situational reports; and information and guidance documents for P/Ts and other stakeholders. In the post-pandemic phase, the Agency is drawing on this experience to plan and implement further improvements to internal information and response systems.
  • A Multi-lateral Information Sharing Agreement (MLISA) on infectious diseases is currently under development through a PHAC-supported F/P/T task group. F/P/T officials have reviewed and ratified the direction for the development of this agreement - they have agreed to a multilateral approach (i.e., one agreement for all jurisdictions to sign), the inclusion of biological substances, and a generic main body on infectious disease plus technical schedules dealing with specific infectious diseases and public health events.
  • The F/P/T Public Health Network (PHN) has endorsed the development of an F/P/T Multi-lateral Information Sharing Agreement (MLISA). The MLISA will initially focus on infectious diseases and the information requirements needed to meet PHAC obligations under the International Health Regulations (IHR), including the movement of biological substances. MLISA will be structured as an overall agreement to share information supported by detailed technical schedules that define how information on specific infectious diseases and public health events will be shared.  This approach ensures adaptability of the agreement as new outbreaks and events arise. The first schedules for MLISA are currently under development within PHAC in collaboration with a Public Health Network task group dedicated to this project.

PHAC is committed to the ongoing implementation of the AG recommendations. The development of a comprehensive public health surveillance system, including the surveillance of infectious disease, is considered a high priority. PHAC will continue to build such a system in collaboration with our partners in a way that promotes and protects the health of Canadians.

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

No external audits were issued during 2009-10.


Public Safety Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Standing Committee on Public Accounts:

1. Report 9 - Chapter 7, Detention and Removal of Individuals - Canada Border Services Agency of the May 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada.

The report focused on detentions and removals carried out by the Canada Border Services Agency:

A response was tabled on September 14, 2009:

 

2. Report 17 - Chapter 1, National Security: Intelligence and Information Sharing of the 2009 Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada.

The report focused on federal departments and agencies that collect, analyze, and share information related to the country’s security:

A response was tabled on October 19, 2009:

 

3. Report 15 - Chapter 7, Economy and Efficiency of Services - Correctional Service Canada of the December 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada.

The report focused on whether the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) managed resources and goods used in providing security services, and the procurement and delivery of institutional services, with sufficient attention to economy and efficiency:

A response was tabled on October 19, 2009:

 

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security:

1. Report 2 - Statutory Review of the DNA Identification Act

The report focused on reviewing the provisions in the DNA Identification Act that establish the National DNA Data Bank:

A response was tabled on October 19, 2009:

 

2. Report 3 - Review of the Findings and Recommendations of the Internal Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin (Iacobucci Inquiry) and the report from the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar (O'Connor Inquiry)

This report examined the implementation of the findings and recommendations arising from the inquiries conducted by Justices O’Connor and Iacobucci:

A response was tabled on October 19, 2009:

 

3. Report 5 - Statutory Review of the Sex Offender Information Registry Act

The report examined the provisions and operation of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), which established the national sex offender registry:

A response was tabled on April 12, 2010:

 

Returns
Responses to written questions, petitions, and motions for production of papers through the Parliamentary returns process were also provided to Parliament. In 2009-10, responses to 142 written questions, 65 petitions, and two motions for production of papers were tabled during the 112 sitting days of Parliament.

 

Response to the Auditor General

Chapter 7 of the Fall 2009 Auditor General of Canada's (AG) Report focused on Emergency Management-Public Safety Canada.

Specifically, the Report focused on four main responsibilities of Public Safety Canada:

  • to establish policies and programs for emergency management plans and operations, provide advice to departments, and evaluate their plans;
  • to coordinate the emergency management activities among federal government institutions along with those of the provinces and territories;
  • to promote a common approach to emergency management, including the adoption of standards and best practices; and
  • to coordinate the protection of Canada’s critical infrastructure.

The AG made five recommendations with which Public Safety Canada agreed. A Management Action Plan has been implemented that regularly tracks progress against the recommendations. Progress updates are provided to the AG as significant achievements are realized.

Public Service Commission of Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Follow-ups sent to parliamentary committees following an appearance from the Public Service Commission
From April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010

During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, the Public Service Commission (PSC) provided a total of 18 follow-ups to 4 Parliamentary Committees. For the House of Commons, the PSC appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO), while the Finance Committee, Human Rights and Official Languages heard testimonies from the PSC in the Upper Chamber. The follow-ups were on a wide range of topics such as non-partisanship in the public service, use of temporary help services, employment equity at the EX level and recruitment of bilingual employees.

In addition, OGGO adopted a unanimous motion requesting that the PSC conduct a special study on issues such as the use of temporary help services. It was the first time in the history of the PSC that this type of request was made.

PSC Parliamentary appearances can be found at Parliamentary Appearances.
Response to the Auditor General

Modernization of Human Resources Management - Managing the Reforms (Chapter 3 of the February 2005 Report of the Auditor General of Canada)
 
In 2009-2010, the Staffing Management Accountability Framework (SMAF) was revised and issued to departments and agencies. The SMAF has been streamlined based on the PSC's analysis and extensive consultation conducted in September and October 2009. Consultation included a round table with representatives from various-sized organizations hosted by the PSC and discussions with the Human Resources Council (HRC), the HRC’s SMAF working group, the Personnel Advisory Group, the National Staffing Council and the Interdepartmental Monitoring Network. As a result, indicators are clearer and more aligned with central sources of information, and overlap has been removed. 

The PSC has also modified its definitions of organizational size to better align with those used by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) for organizational Management Assessment Framework (MAF) assessments. This will help streamline reporting to deputy heads and support communications. The PSC has also aligned the organizational submission time frame of the Departmental Staffing Accountability Report (DSAR) to better coincide with TBSMAF time frame and with requests from the Committee of Senior Officials. The revised SMAF includes focusing more clearly on expectations for the development and monitoring of organizational staffing strategies that link with business and human resources plans, including post-secondary recruitment strategies, as applicable. The performance indicators have been reduced from 37 to 29, resulting in a reduction of reporting requirements. 

A new approach, reporting template and assessment tools were developed for micro‑organizations (fewer than 100 employees). The statistical information packages
were also updated, and information from the PSC’s Survey of Staffing is now included.

A protocol for co-ordinating the collection of organizational information for audits and DSAR reporting was developed and implemented to minimize the reporting burden for departments and agencies under audit.

The PSC maintains ongoing communications by presenting any updates made to the SMAF and reporting framework to the HRC and any other venue, as deemed necessary. The PSC conducted information sessions on the revised SMAF and updated statistical package with more than 50 organizational representatives in December 2009. All reporting documents and tools were posted on the PSC Web site.

The PSC will continue to build on its successful consultation process with organizations to continuously improve the SMAF and amend it accordingly. The PSC will also continue to modify the SMAF to respond to the regular maintenance of the indicators and the expectation of the PSC.

The PSC has used and modified the SMAF over the past three years to respond to various initiatives, and it has now achieved a steady state.

In addition, in 2009-2010, the PSC and the Office of the Chief Human Resource Officer have completed a review of organizational systems, approaches and practices for gathering employment equity self-identification data. A joint letter to heads of human resources has been prepared and is expected to be released in April 2010.  This letter will inform departments and agencies that they will be able to use self-declaration information as self-identification information by persons who are their employees, provided that the applicant's prior consent has been obtained. This procedure will assist in ensuring greater accuracy of employment equity information.

Therefore, the PSC considers this item now completed.
Response to the Public Service Commission on external audits

In carrying out its audits of the staffing activities of departments and agencies, the PSC performed the following audits and studies during the reporting period:

Entity audits
Audit of Infrastructure Canada
Audit of the Canada Border Services Agency
Audit of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Audit of Health Canada

Follow-up audit
Follow-up audit of the Office of the Correctional Investigator

Government-wide audit
Audit of the Federal Student Work Experience Program and subsequent appointments through bridging mechanisms

Studies
Study on the data collection of non-advertised appointment processes
Career progression in the federal public service – Temporary versus permanent start-ups

Statistical study updates
Time to staff in the federal public service – An update
To what extent do casuals become employed under the Public Service Employment Act? – Update
New indeterminate employees: Who are they? – Update
Acting Appointments and Subsequent Promotions in the Federal Public Service – Update


Public Works and Government Services Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Responses to the Auditor General and the
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD)
Auditor General
2009 Spring Report
Chapter 2 – Intellectual Property
The audit examined whether selected federal entities can demonstrate that they manage Crown-owned intellectual property assets effectively. The audit looked at the Acquisition Program Integrity Secretariat at Public Works and Government Services Canada and included a sample of: procurement contracts; contracts in which the Treasury Board exemption was invoked; invention disclosures; and licence agreements.
Recommendation No recommendation directed at Public Works and Government Services Canada. For further information, visit: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_02_e_32515.html#hd3e
  Chapter 3 – Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings

The audit focused on two major activities of the federal government that exist to reduce the risks to the health and safety of federal employees working in office buildings administered by Public Works and Government Services Canada:

  • the operation and maintenance of the buildings, their systems, and equipment; and
  • the planning for fire safety and fire emergencies within these buildings.
The audit examined a sample of 48 office buildings under the administration Public Works and Government Services Canada.
Recommendations

Six recommendations were directed at federal organizations. Five recommendations were directed at Public Works and Government Services Canada.

3.43 Public Works and Government Services Canada should ensure that all high-priority deficiencies, including those related to health and safety, identified by its reviews and assessments of building condition and operating performance are included in its annual Building Management Plans.

3.49 Public Works and Government Services Canada should ensure that it implements mechanisms to consistently identify, challenge, and prioritize high-priority deficiencies, including those related to health and safety, and that it corrects these deficiencies within the time frame it has established.

3.54 Public Works and Government Services Canada should strengthen its systems and practices so that it can consistently demonstrate that it is completing mandated maintenance as required.

3.60 Public Works and Government Services Canada should carry out its responsibilities for leased buildings, as required by departmental policies.

3.70 Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) should work with other government departments to determine the appropriate clarification to be included in lease agreements to facilitate cooperation between building owners and federal tenants regarding fire safety planning and fire emergency organizations. For facilities under existing lease agreements, PWGSC should work with building owners to ensure that tenant departments are provided the information needed to meet their obligations under the Standard for Fire Safety Planning and Fire Emergency Organization.
Departmental Responses Public Works and Government Services Canada agreed with the recommendations and has committed to implementing corrective action. For further information, visit: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200905_03_e_32516.html#hd3e
Auditor General 2009 Fall Report Chapter 5 – Acquiring Military Vehicles for Use in Afghanistan

The objectives of the audit were to determine whether:

  • National Defence can demonstrate that the purchase of selected military vehicles used in Afghanistan met operational needs and were acquired in a timely manner; and
  • Public Works and Government Services Canada and National Defence purchased these selected military vehicles in compliance with applicable contracting legislation, regulations, and policies and acquired them in a timely manner.
Recommendation Four recommendations were directed at National Defence.  One recommendation was directed at Public Works and Government Services Canada and National Defence.

5.48 Public Works and Government Services Canada and National Defence should examine lessons learned in contracting for urgent operational requirements that could be applied to help speed up the regular procurement process.
Departmental Response Public Works and Government Services Canada agreed with the audit recommendation and has committed to implementing corrective action. For further information, visit: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oag_200911_05_e_33206.html#appa
CESD
2009 Fall Report
Chapter 4 - Annual Report on Environmental Petitions
The objective of this chapter was to inform Parliament and Canadians about the use of the petition process, and described the number, nature and status of petitions received between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009, and the timeliness of responses from ministers.  Public Works and Government Services Canada responded to three petitions assigned to the department within the legislated timeframes.
Recommendation The report made no recommendations. For further information, visit: http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_cesd_200911_04_e_33199.html



Responses to the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC)
PSC
2009 May Report
Audit of the Federal Student Work Experience Program and subsequent appointments through bridging mechanisms

The objective of the audit was to determine whether 11 selected federal organizations complied with legislative and policy frameworks when they hired students for the first time through the Progam and when they used bridging mechanisms to appoint graduates who were formerly hired as participants in this program.  The audit also examined whether, for the period from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007, selected federal organizations each had an appropriate framework in place to plan and monitor bridging appointments.

Public Works and Government Services Canada was one of two departments mentioned for their monitoring practices.
Recommendations Four recommendations were directed at deputy heads, departments and agencies, and the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Departmental Responses The deputy heads agreed with the audit recommendations and have already taken action to improve the quality of the student appointment and bridging appointment. For further information, visit: http://www.psc-cfp.gc.ca/adt-vrf/rprt/2009/fswep-pfete/index-eng.htm#toc26



Responses to the Office of the Comptroller General (OCG)
OCG
2010 January
Horizontal Internal Audit of Corporate Risk Profiles in Large Departments and Agencies
The objective of the audit was to determine whether systems and practices for corporate risk management ― specifically, those associated with corporate risk profiles ― are in place to ensure that strategies exist for identifying and mitigating risks within the operations of large departments and agencies. Public Works and Government Services Canada was one of thirteen departments and agencies selected as part of this audit.
Recommendations Six recommendations were directed at large departments and agencies.
Departmental Responses Management agreed with the recommendations and has committed to implement corrective actions. For further information, visit:http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2010/crp-pro01-eng.asp#s1

Statistics Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees
No recommendations received.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)
No recommendations received.
External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
Statistics Canada was included in two horizontal audits conducted by the Office of the Comptroller General. These were:

Horizontal Internal Audit of High Risk Expenditure Controls in Large Departments and Agencies
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2009/hia-vih-eng.asp

Horizontal Internal Audit of Corporate Risk Profiles in Large Departments and Agencies
http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/orp/2010/crp-pro01-eng.asp

Status of Women Canada


 
Table 3 – Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits
Response to Parliamentary Committees

Towards Gender Responsive Budgeting: Rising to the Challenge of Achieving Gender Equality (tabled February 26, 2009).
 
The report contained 27 recommendations focusing on governance; research; infrastructure; integrating gender-based analysis in the budget process and the extension of its application; and accountability.
 
SWC, in consultation with the Department of Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office, led the preparation of the Government response to the report, which was presented to the House on August 19, 2009. In its response, the Government outlined the importance of gender-based analysis in the development and assessment of policies and programs. It also accepted the intent of the Committee report as to the enhancement of gender-based analysis implementation in Government and to increasing the integration of gender-based analysis within the budget process.
 
Report:http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=3683704&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2&Language=F
 
Response:http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=2&DocId=4017756&File=0&Language=E
 

Transport Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

 

Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

For the 2009-2010 fiscal year, 2 external studies were published and 8 external audits were tabled that were specific to Transport Canada or horizontal in nature. The external entities involved were the Office of the Auditor General, the Public Service Commission, the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Office of the Comptroller General.

Office of the Auditor General

On May 12, 2009, the Auditor General tabled her Spring 2009 Report. Transport Canada was included in three of the nine chapters as follows:

Chapter 1, Gender-Based Analysis

Transport Canada is cited as considering its work as gender neutral and will be highlighting the requirements for gender-based analysis in a departmental guide for processing Treasury Board submissions. There were no audit recommendations directed at the department. The audit report is available online.

Chapter 3, Health and Safety in Federal Office Buildings

Transport Canada was assessed along with a number of entities to determine whether they were planning for fire emergencies in compliance with key requirements, including conducting required fire drills. The department was directed to ensure to prepare and administer its fire safety plan in accordance with established federal legislation and Treasury Board policies and standards as well as to hold all evacuation drills required. The audit report is available online.

Chapter 7, Special Examinations of Crown Corporations – 2008

This chapter included the main points for the special examinations carried out between March 1 and December 1, 2008. Five of the eight Crown corporations fell within the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio: Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL), Great Lakes Pilotage Authority (GLPA), Pacific Pilotage Authority (PPA), Parc Downsview Park Inc. (PDP) and via Rail Canada Inc. Two significant deficiencies were found for FBCL, one for GLPA and via and none for PDP or PPA. The audit report is available online.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development tabled his fall report on November 3, 2009. Transport Canada was included in two of the four chapters as follows:

Chapter 1 Applying the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

The audit focused on the government’s performance in general in complying with the environmental assessment process established by the Act for projects subject to entities’ decision-making authority as a project proponent, regulator, land administrator or funding source. The audit examined whether the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is fulfilling its responsibilities for administering the Act, establishing a quality assurance program and maintaining a public Registry Internet Site of environmental assessments. All of the recommendations are directed at the Agency. The audit report is available online.

Chapter 4 Environmental Petitions

This chapter, which is required annually under the Auditor General Act, reports on the quantity, nature and status of petitions received this year and on the timeliness of ministerial responses to the petitioners. Transport Canada was responsible for responding to two petitions between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, both of which were considered late. The audit report is available online.

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)

Public Service Commission

In October 2009, the Public Service Commission (PSC) published its Study on the Data Collection of Non-Advertised Appointment Processes. The study focused on the non-advertised appointment activities of four departments for the period of April 1, 2007, to March 31, 2008. The purpose was to examine data collection practices related to those activities and the limits of the data available as well as to explore associated risks and areas for improvement for both the PSC and the organizations involved. Overall the comments about Transport Canada in this study are positive. Indeed, of the four departments included, we are cited as a "best practice" for having a centrally managed system that can easily perform customized queries. The study can be viewed online.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner

On November 17, 2009, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada tabled her annual report in Parliament that included a summary of audit findings for work undertaken during the course of the year, and published the full audit reports on its website. The Passenger Protect Program (PPP) at Transport Canada was audited to determine whether the department had adequate controls and safeguards to collect, use, disclose, retain, dispose, protect and ensure the accuracy of personal information under the program. The audit found that Transport Canada does collect and use personal information within the PPP in accordance with the Privacy Act and the Aeronautics Act. As well, the department uses the appropriate physical measures, training programs and security clearances to safeguard personal information within the program. Nevertheless, four recommendations were made and the department responded accordingly with a management action plan. The audit report is available online.

Office of the Comptroller General

On December 15, 2009, the Office of the Comptroller General (OCG) published its horizontal audit on high-risk expenditure controls in large departments and agencies. The audit examined the risk management over expenditure controls and the practices in place in a sample of large departments including Transport Canada to determine whether expenditure management was being carried out in a cost-effective and efficient manner while maintaining the required level of control. Three recommendations were directed at Transport Canada and the department responded accordingly with a management action plan. The audit report is available online.

During 2009, Transport Canada was also included in the OCG’s horizontal audit of corporate risk profile activities in 13 departments from April 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008. The overall objective of the audit was to determine whether systems and processes related to the development of corporate risk profiles are in place and are adequate and effective to respond to changing risk environments and establish interfaces between the risk profile, business planning and performance management. There were no areas of concern found for Transport Canada and no recommendations were made to the department. Consequently, we did not prepare a management action plan. The audit report is available online.


Transportation Safety Board of Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


During the reporting period, there were no Parliamentary Committee recommendations addressed specifically to the TSB.

The Auditor General conducted an audit of the TSB financial statements and issued an unqualified opinion.

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates: The Right Pay for Valuable Employees

(Adopted by the Committee on April 30, 2009; presented to the House on May 4, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee considered the problems in the federal government's compensation system from the perspective of the public interest. Recommendations were made to the government to address the classification of compensation advisors, the upgrading of the compensation system's technological infrastructure, and the turnover rate in the public service. The government has undertaken or will undertake actions with respect to most of the recommendations to ensure equity and timeliness of compensation for all employees in the federal public sector. The government introduced the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act as part of the Budget Implementation Act, 2009 and is also committed to developing an approach to modernize technology and processes to simplify the administration of pay for the Government of Canada. The 2009–10 Public Service Renewal Action Plan emphasized linking human resources needs with organizational business needs, one outcome of which would be more stability and fewer turnovers in the public service. Government Response to the Second Report of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (Third Report of the Committee presented to the House during the Second Session of the 39th Parliament)

(Presented to the House on September 14, 2009)

Standing Committee on the Status of Women: An Analysis of the Effects of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act

(Adopted by the Committee on 18, 2009; presented to the House on June 19, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that the government repeal the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act and replace it with a proactive federal pay equity law, as recommended by the Pay Equity Task Force (Task Force) in its 2004 report, Pay Equity: A New Approach to a Fundamental Right. The Conservative Party members of the Committee issued a Dissenting Opinion to the report. These members have many reservations about the recommendation put forward and are concerned that the draft report was written and discussed before the Committee had the opportunity to hear from all witnesses. The Government Response indicates that the Government of Canada respects the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and that the government strongly believes the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act is the best means to proactively apply this principle to ensure that federal public sector employees receive equitable compensation.
The Act makes pay equity an integral part of collective bargaining and wage-setting in the federal public sector and ensures that parties with responsibilities in wage-setting are accountable for achieving equal pay for work of equal value and that employees receive equitable compensation from the moment wages are set.
Government Response: Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, An Analysis of the Effects of the Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act

(Presented to the House on October 7, 2009)

Standing Committee on the Status of Women: Towards Gender Responsive Budgeting: Rising to the Challenge of Achieving Gender Equality  

(Adopted by the Committee on February 10, 2009; presented to the House on February 26, 2009 )
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that the other central agencies, namely the Privy Council Office and the Secretariat, establish specialized units on gender analysis.

The Committee recommended that senior government officials, namely deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, and director generals, be held accountable for their implementation of a true gender-based analysis in all government departments by tying their performance assessment, and thereby pay increases and promotions, to the implementation of gender-based analysis, including the Clerk of the Privy Council, the Secretary of the Treasury Board, and the Deputy Minister of Finance.

The Committee recommended that the Secretariat develop a policy requiring departments to report on gender-based analysis through the Reports on Plans and Priorities and the Departmental Performance Reports by January 2009.
Since 2005, the Government of Canada has been working on the integration of gender‑based analysis into instruments of authority, e.g., Treasury Board submissions and the Management, Resources and Results Structure. There is now a complete inventory of all government programs, which can be searched to identify programs by subject including those explicitly identifying gender issues. Status of Women Canada, with support from the Secretariat and the Privy Council Office, has committed to assessing the performance of gender‑based analysis across the federal government and the effectiveness of gender-based analysis practices on a yearly basis to ensure that government policy and program development and budgets achieve gender equality goals and are gender-responsive. Government Response: Second Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (recommendations contained in the 11th Report of the Committee presented to the House during the Second Session of the 39th Parliament)

(Presented to the House on August 19, 2009)

Standing Committee on Accounts: Public Accounts of Canada 2008

(Adopted by the Committee on March 5, 2009; presented to the House on March 24, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that:
i) the Canada Revenue Agency provide a plan to improve its methodology to calculate the allowance for doubtful tax receivables; and
ii) the Canada Border Services Agency provide a detailed plan on how it will improve its tax revenue accounting systems.

The Committee also recommended that the Comptroller General of Canada ensure that federal government departments have adequate internal control systems to prevent losses of public money and property and plans in place for recovering losses in the case of criminal offences; and that the government provide a firm timeline for implementing accrual appropriations.
i)  The Canada Revenue Agency developed and implemented a new methodology to estimate the allowance for doubtful accounts based on the age of tax accounts receivable during the 2007–08 year.
ii) The Canada Border Services Agency has developed a project to improve its accounting systems. The Treasury Board submission went to the Board in June 2010.

Several initiatives will result in improved internal controls over financial reporting. For example, policies on internal control, governance and internal audit have been approved and will now result in strengthened controls over financial reporting, oversight and governance. Significant progress has been made on the development of a plan for the staged approach to the implementation of accrual budgeting and appropriations. 
Government Response to the Sixth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Public Accounts of Canada 2008

(Presented to the House on August 19, 2009)

Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Governance of Small Federal Entities

(Adopted by the Committee on May 28, 2009; presented to the House on June 10, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that the Secretariat provide a progress report followed by an action plan on how it intends to implement the recommendations contained in Chapter 2 of the Auditor General's December 2008 Report, including specific elements in its action plan to show how it will reduce the reporting burden on small federal entities and what issues it will address with respect to administrative shared services in small federal entities. The management response to this chapter includes a full description of measures taken or intended with respect to each of the recommendations, including a list of specific measures that have been undertaken to reduce reporting requirements on departments, including small entities. Government Response to the 14th Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Governance of Small Federal Entities, Chapter 2 of the December 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada

(Presented to the House on October 7, 2009)

Standing Committee on Public Accounts: A Study of Federal Transfers to Provinces and Territories

(Adopted by the Committee on May 7, 2009; presented to the House on May 27, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that the Government of Canada, when announcing transfers to provinces and territories, clearly explain whether there are ongoing conditions for the use of the funds and, if not, explain why not; and that when designing future trust agreements, to ensure that mechanisms are in place to verify results achieved. The government makes every effort to ensure that the purpose, objectives and conditions associated with each transfer are clearly communicated. The government has established clear and precise eligibility conditions that must be met before a funding agreement is established and the funds transferred. For example, in the transfer of funds by individual federal departments, conditions are explicitly stated in agreements between the federal government and provincial or territorial governments, and can include financial and compliance audits, progress reports, program evaluation, and/or public acknowledgement of federal support for the program.
To ensure that trust arrangements are clear and transparent, the government established new accountability mechanisms through a political commitment and public accountability approach. Actions to enhance public accountability have been taken through the new Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments and its supporting directive.
Government Response to the 11th Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts: "Chapter 1, A Study of Federal Transfers to Provinces and Territories of the December 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada"

(Presented to the House on September 28, 2009)

Standing Committee on on Public Accounts: Management of Fees in Selected Departments and Agencies

(Adopted by the Committee on April 28, 2009; presented to the House on May 13, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee made six recommendations:

(1) The Committee recommended that the Secretariat develop and present to the Treasury Board a comprehensive policy on the management of fees; and report progress on this initiative to the Committee by September 30, 2009.

(2) The Committee recommended that the Treasury Board amend the Policy on Service Standards for External Fees to require departments to publicly report annually on the full costs, revenues, service standards, and performance results for all external fees; and that departments be required to regularly carry out and report on public consultations with those affected by fees.

(3) The Committee recommended that the Secretariat clarify the method of comparing fee revenues to associated costs when updating its guidance on factors to consider in determining the amount of a fee; and that the Secretariat report progress on this initiative to the Committee by September 30, 2009.

(4)  The Committee recommended that the Comptroller General work with departments to ensure that they are accurately calculating their costs associated with fees and report progress on this initiative by September 30, 2009.

(5) The Committee recommended that Secretariat provide a list of all fees that are set by contract by September 30, 2009.

(6)  Finally, the Committee recommended that the Secretariat clarify the review and reporting requirement for fees set by contract by September 30, 2009.
As per the recommendations of the Committee, the Secretariat tabled a response to all six recommendations on September 14, 2009. A summary of each of the six commitments follows:

(1) The government completed an examination of the available guidance and policies relating to the practices supporting user fee management.

(2) Further to the examination, the development of a comprehensive policy on user fee management will be initiated in 2010–11.

(3) In May 2009, the Secretariat released the Guide to Establishing the Level of a Cost-Based User Fee or Regulatory Charge, which provides a consistent approach for departments when establishing an appropriate fee level.

(4) In March 2008, the Secretariat released the Guide to Costing and continues to work with departments to promote its use in user fee and other financial management settings.

(5) Given that fees set by contract are not subject to the reporting provisions of either the User Fees Act or the Policy on Service Standards for External Fees, the government initiated a plan to gather information on fees set by contract from individual departments. The government provided the compiled information to the Committee by December 31, 2009, as stated in the government's response.

(6) The development of the new comprehensive policy will include within its scope, practices and reporting related to fees set by contract.
Government Response to the Tenth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, "Chapter 1, Management of Fees in Selected Departments and Agencies of the May 2008 Report of the Auditor General of Canada"

(Presented to the House on September 14, 2009)

Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Requested information on the progress of government action on 13 recommendations contained in the following reports:

Administration of the RCMP's Pension and Insurance Plans (Adopted by the Committee on December 6, 2007; presented to the House on December 10, 2007)

The Expenditure Management System at the Government Centre and the Expenditure Management System in Departments (Adopted by the Committee on February 12, 2008; presented to the House on February 25, 2008)

Protection of Public Assets - Office of the Correctional Investigator (Adopted by the Committee on February 12, 2008; presented to the House on February 25, 2008)

Large Information Technology Projects (Adopted by the Committee on February 14, 2008; presented to the House on February 25, 2008)

Passports Services - Passport Canada (Adopted by the Committee on February 28, 2008; presented to the House on March 5, 2008)

Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts requested information on the progress of government action on 13 recommendations contained in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th and 9th reports of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, presented to the House of Commons during the 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament. The Secretariat provided an update on the actions taken to the commitments made to all 13 recommendations contained in the following Government Responses:

Second Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, "Restoring the Honour of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Addressing Problems in the Administration of the RCMP's Pension and Insurance Plans" (Presented to the House on April 7, 2008)

Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts
, "The Expenditure Management System at the Government Centre and the Expenditure Management System in Departments" (Presented to the House on July 16, 2008)

Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts
, "Protection of Public Assets: Office of the Correctional Investigator" (Presented to the House on July 16, 2008)

Seventh Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, "Large Information Technology Projects" (Presented to the House on July 16, 2008)

Ninth Report of the Standing Committee of Public Accounts, "Passports Services B Passport Canada" (Presented to the House on June 6, 2008)
Progress report received from the Secretariat in October 2009 relating to the following studies:

Chapter 9, Pension and Insurance Administration - Royal Canadian Mounted Police of the November 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (39th Parliament, 2nd Session)

Chapter 1, Expenditure Management System at the Government Centre and Chapter 2 Expenditure Management System in Departments of the November 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (39th Parliament, 2nd Session)

Chapter 11, Protection of Public Assets - Office of the Correctional Investigator of the November 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (39th Parliament, 2nd Session)

Chapter 3, Large Information Technology Projects of the November 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada
(39th Parliament, 2nd Session)

Chapter 5, Passports Services - Passport Canada of February 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada
(39th Parliament, 2nd Session)

Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Financial Management and Control - National Defence

(Adopted by the Committee on November 18, 2009; presented to the House on December 3, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that the Treasury Board, in consultation with the Department of Finance Canada, consider raising the limit on the amount that National Defence can carry forward from one fiscal year to another. The Government accepts this recommendation. The Department of Finance Canada and the Secretariat are reviewing National Defence's current carry-forward authority. The Secretariat will report back to the Committee if any changes are made to the current authority following this review. Government Response to the Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts , Chapter 5, Financial Management and Control – National Defence of the Spring 2009 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (20th Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts)

(Presented to the House on March 31, 2010)

Standing Committee on Public Accounts: Managing the Delivery of Legal Services to Government - Department of Justice Canada

(Adopted by the Committee on February 12, 2009; presented to the House on February 25, 2009)
Summary of Report Discussion of progress made to address recommendations Link to the Secretariat's response
The Committee recommended that the Secretariat study the feasibility of reporting the Government of Canada's total costs for legal services. The Secretariat has reviewed the existing reporting of the costs of legal services to Parliament and the possibility of the future use of the Management, Resources and Results Structure to further capture the costs of legal services. The Public Accounts of Canada 2007 and the Department of Justice's Departmental Performance Report provide details on the majority of these costs. Government Response:

Chapter 5, Managing the Delivery of Legal Services to Government – Department of Justice Canada of the May 2007 Report of the Auditor General of Canada
, Fourth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (recommendations contained in the 17th Report of the Committee presented to the House during the Second Session of the 39th Parliament) (Presented to the House on June 19, 2009)

Response to External Audits

Government-wide audit of executive appointments by the Public Service Commission of Canada (October, 2008)

The audit[1] focused on executive appointments made within the first year of implementing the Public Service Employment Act, from January to December 2006, and included 100 per cent of appointment processes of executives at levels four and five (which includes assistant secretaries) and 50 per cent of executives at levels one to three (which includes directors, executive directors and directors general).

The Secretariat did not have any significant issues, and a formal response was not required.


[1] The Secretariat's results did not include the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer as the audit was conducted prior to the reorganization.

Veterans Affairs Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees

House of Commons

Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs

On June 17, 2009, the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) tabled a report, Shared Experiences: Comparison of Veterans Services Offered by Members of the Commonwealth and the G8. The report noted that Canada’s New Veterans Charter (NVC) is similar in many ways to the modernized package of benefits and services offered in other countries and addresses basically the same needs. As other countries are evaluating their programs, the NVC, referred to as a "living document", would benefit from a major review. An official government response to the report was tabled on October 15, 2009 assuring Committee members that a thorough review of the NVC was underway.

Standing Committee on National Defence

On June 17, 2009, the Standing Committee on National Defence tabled a report, Doing Well and Doing Better: Health Services Provided to Canadian Forces Personnel with an Emphasis on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The report noted that, as effective as current Canadian Forces (CF) health care and social support programs are, there is room for improvement. Concern has been expressed over the ability of the CF to meet the growing needs of soldiers injured, both physically and psychologically, in combat in Afghanistan and elsewhere. One of the main issues identified during the study is the fact that the shortage of medical professionals is not only a CF problem. What is needed is a whole-of-government approach to mobilize, deploy and sustain sufficient medical health professionals to meet the growing needs of injured CF personnel and their families. The DND led response with VAC input was tabled on October 7, 2009.

Senate

The Senate sub-Committee on Veterans Affairs to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence did not release any reports during this period.

Bills

In June 2009, Bill C-33, An Act to amend the War Veterans Allowance Act received Royal Assent and was passed into law, extending benefits to eligible Veterans of Allied countries.

Western Economic Diversification Canada

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits


Response to Parliamentary Committees

Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates RE:  Economic Stimulus Package (June 4, 2009) - No recommendations were received.

Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, RE: Application of the Official Language Act within those institutions subject to the Act (Study on Part VII and other issues).  (November 2, 2009) - No recommendations were received.  As a follow-up to WD’s appearance before the committee, one  member posed the following question:

  • Question: What was the percentage of funding requests from francophones under the Western Diversification Program (WDP)?
  • Reply: During 2009-10, 4.0% of WDP requests for funding, excluding CAF, were identified as having a major impact on francophones.  During this same period, 1.4% requests for funding under CAF were identified as having a major impact on francophones.
Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, RE:  Adoption of Report 8 regarding Supplementary Estimates (B) 2009-2010 (November 30, 2010) – No recommendations were received.
Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

None were required during the period. 

External Audits (Note: These refer to other external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages)
None were conducted during this period.

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