Rescinded [2010-06-01] - Policy on Active Monitoring

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Effective Date

This policy takes effect on June 1, 2001.


Results for Canadians, the government's management framework, requires the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) to work in productive partnership with departments and agencies to improve management practices. To implement this framework, TBS and departments must share commitments to excellence in four critical areas. First, government management must focus on meeting the needs of citizens. Supporting this, managers must apply sound public service values and place strong emphasis on managing for results and responsible spending.

This framework fosters a modern management approach that encourages initiative within departments to delegate authority to the right level to achieve results. This approach supports placing real decision-making authority at the front-line where a direct citizen focus can be brought to the work. It also supports a management regime that stresses leadership and values, well-defined standards and sound risk management.

At the same time, the right systems must be in place to provide appropriate monitoring and control. To this end, using a risk management approach, departments are expected to actively monitor the state of their management practices and controls and TBS is expected to actively monitor the overall situation in this area across government. This "active monitoring" regime is an integral part of the modern management framework outlined in Results for Canadians.

This policy describes how this specific aspect of the framework, active monitoring, must be implemented through collaborative two-way engagement and communication between TBS and departments.

Policy Objective and Results

Consistent with the modern management framework outlined in Results for Canadians, the purpose of this policy is to define an effective regime to actively monitor the state of management practices and controls throughout government.

The expected results of this approach include:

  • better information sharing and improved understanding of the effectiveness of management practices and controls, both within departments and across government;
  • timely assessments and preventative or remedial actions in areas where control deficiencies or failures have been identified; and
  • improved assessments of the effectiveness of TB policies, and earlier identification of the need for adjustments to existing TB policies or for new policies.

Policy Statement on Active Monitoring

Departments are responsible for ensuring that their programs and activities are well managed, and that suitable management practices and controls are in place and working. To this end, they must actively monitor management practices and controls within the department, and take early and effective remedial action in areas where significant deficiencies are encountered or improvements are needed. They must also inform TBS of significant management concerns in a timely manner.

On behalf of the Treasury Board, TBS is responsible for actively monitoring the overall situation to maintain an ongoing awareness of the state of management practices and controls across government. TBS is also responsible for supporting departments in addressing specific risks, vulnerabilities, control deficiencies and other significant management issues. In cases where significant control deficiencies or failures occur, TBS must ensure that the appropriate level of action is taken.

Authority and Application

This policy is issued under the authority of Section 7 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA). It applies to all institutions in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Act.

Policy Requirements

Implementation of this policy requires a clear understanding of the respective roles, responsibilities and accountabilities of departments and TBS.

Departmental Roles and Responsibilities

To meet the requirements of this policy, departments must actively monitor their management practices and controls using a risk-based approach. This includes having an "early notice" capability in place within the department to detect and communicate unacceptable risks, vulnerabilities or control deficiencies or failures; taking early and effective preventive and remedial action whenever significant potential or actual deficiencies are identified; and providing early notice of significant management concerns to TBS.

Specifically, departments are responsible for:

  • establishing a capacity to actively monitor, on an ongoing basis, management practices and controls;
  • developing and maintaining, consistent with the Treasury Board Integrated Risk Management Framework, an ability to detect and communicate within the organization, as early as possible, significant risks, potential and actual control failures, and other significant management vulnerabilities;
  • taking timely and effective action to address deficiencies in management practices and controls; and
  • ensuring the timely communication of significant management concerns to TBS.

Treasury Board Secretariat Roles and Responsibilities

To meet the requirements of this policy, TBS must actively and constructively engage senior departmental managers, including internal audit and evaluation managers, in order to develop, using a risk-based approach, a government-wide understanding of the state of management practices and controls.

Specifically, TBS is responsible for:

  • working in partnership with departments to actively monitor management practices and controls in order to develop a current, accurate and integrated understanding of the state of management practices and controls across government, including an understanding of significant management concerns in individual departments;
  • supporting departments in developing tailored solutions to their specific management issues and concerns;
  • leading and supporting, as appropriate, collaborative or government-wide approaches to improvement; and
  • assessing on an ongoing basis the effectiveness of Treasury Board policies and recommending to Treasury Board, as appropriate, changes that might be required to existing policies or new policies.

On behalf of the Treasury Board, TBS is also responsible for ensuring that, wherever there are serious management issues to resolve, timely and effective action is taken by the appropriate department or departments. To this end, where warranted, TBS is responsible, in consultation with the Treasury Board and other Central Agencies, for making appropriate interventions. The level of intervention can range from providing advice and/or guidance to withdrawing specific Treasury Board authorities or delegations in the most serious of cases.


Deputy Heads are responsible for implementing this policy in departments and the Secretary of the Treasury Board and Comptroller General of Canada is responsible for implementing this policy within TBS. This policy respects all other existing Deputy Head and Ministerial accountabilities.

Early Notification of TBS

For the purpose of providing early notice to TBS, departments are responsible for determining which matters represent a significant concern relating to management practices and controls.

Existing channels of communication may be used to provide early notice. TBS contacts include the Secretary, Associate Secretary, Deputy Comptroller General, Chief Information Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer and all Assistant Secretaries. These contacts will ensure that, once early notice is provided, other relevant senior managers within TBS are appropriately informed.

Monitoring this Policy

Consistent with the roles and responsibilities set forth in this policy, TBS will develop measures and methodologies to continuously assess and periodically evaluate the effectiveness of this policy towards achieving stated results.

TBS will also monitor the implementation of this policy to ensure that departments are meeting their obligation to provide early notice of significant concerns about management practices or controls in departments.


Access to Information Act

Communications Policy of the Government of Canada

Financial Administration Act

Official Languages Act

Privacy Act

Report of the Independent Review Panel on Modernisation of Comptrollership in the Government of Canada

Results for Canadians: A Management Framework for the Government of Canada (March 2000)

Treasury Board Policy on Delegation of Authority

Treasury Board Policy on Evaluation (April 2001)

Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit (April 2001)

Treasury Board Integrated Risk Management Framework (April 2001)

Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments (June 2000)


Enquiries about this policy should be directed to:

Expenditure and Management Strategies Sector
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
L'Esplanade Laurier
300 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R5


Facsimile: (613) 946-3718

Appendix A - Definitions

Active Monitoring - is the activity whereby departments and TBS,working in partnership, monitor management practices and controls to assess their effectiveness with a view to taking early and effective action where significant risks, vulnerabilities or control deficiencies or failures emerge, and adjusting management practices to prevent recurrence.

Control Failure - represents a situation where implicit or explicit controls are deficient, leading to control vulnerabilities or failures.

Departments - includes, for the purpose of this policy, all departments, agencies, boards, councils, commissions and other bodies identified in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the FAA.

Early Notice - relates to communicating, to the appropriate departmental or TBS authority, significant risk, control failure or management concerns that may arise from actively monitoring management practices.

Management practices and controls - represent the entire spectrum of policies, processes, procedures and systems that enable a department to operate its programs and activities, use its resources efficiently and effectively, exercise sound stewardship, fulfil its obligations and achieve its objectives.

Significant Management Concern - are as determined by the department, with due consideration being given to the seriousness of the problem, its root cause and its potential or actual impact.