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)

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