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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

Departmental Action Plan on Gender-Based Analysis

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.