Archived [2009-07-01] - Directive on Chief Audit Executives, Internal Audit Plans, and Support to the Comptroller General

This document provides direction to deputy heads in relation to chief audit executives, departmental internal audit plans and support to the Comptroller General.
Date modified: 2005-10-21

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1. Purpose

1.1 This document provides direction to deputy heads in relation to chief audit executives, departmental internal audit plans and support to the Comptroller General.

2. Context

2.1 This directive is issued pursuant to sections 7and 11of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) in support of the Policy on Internal Audit. Paragraph 4.1.3 below applies to deputy heads in the core public administration as defined in subsection 11. (1) of the FAA. Deputy heads of other departments or separate agencies not subject to this directive are encouraged to meet these requirements as good practice.

3. Effective Date

3.1 This directive takes effect on April 1, 2006. (See Policy 1.1 and 1.2)

4. Requirements

4.1 Chief Audit Executive

4.1.1 The Policy requires deputy heads of departments, other than small departments and agencies (SDAs), to appoint a chief audit executive.

4.1.2 Deputy heads shall ensure that the chief audit executive:

  • Is independent from departmental management and operations allowing objective assurance services on all areas of departmental responsibility;
  • Has unfettered access to the departmental audit committee and to the committee chair and vice-chair;
  • Has access to all departmental records, databases,workplaces and employees, and has the right to obtain information and explanations from departmental employees and contractors, subject to applicable legislation;
  • Has unimpaired ability to carry out his or her responsibilities, including reporting findings to the deputy head, to the departmental audit committee and, as appropriate, to the Comptroller General; and
  • Provides an annual holistic opinion to the deputy head and audit committee on the effectiveness and adequacy of departmental risk management, control, and governance processes.

4.1.3 Deputy headsshall consult with:

  • The Comptroller General when preparing the annual performance appraisal of the chief audit executive; and
  • The Comptroller General, and the Employer Representation Group, Labour Relations and Compensation Operations Sector of the Treasury Board Secretariat (in accordance with the Treasury Board Guidelines for Discipline), prior to any action being taken to discipline or terminate the employment of the chief audit executive.

4.1.4 Deputy heads should be guided by the Guidelines on the Responsibilities of Chief Audit Executives in establishing the roles and responsibilities of chief audit executives and by the Guidelines on Expected Qualifications of Chief Audit Executives .

4.2 Departmental Internal Audit Plans

The Policy requires that deputy heads of departments approve the department's internal audit plan. Deputy heads should ensure that the internal audit plan:

  • Is reviewed by the audit committee;
  • Is focused primarily on the provision of assurance services and that other services are provided on an exception basis only;
  • Includes internal audits identified by the Comptroller General as part of government-wide coverage, including:
    • Annual audits that address fundamental controls including financial statement reporting controls; and
    • Selected government-wide sectoral, thematic or horizontal audits.
  • Supports an annual opinion from the chief audit executive on departmental risk management, control, and governance processes.

Support for the Comptroller General

Deputy heads must ensure that the Comptroller General is provided:

  • Copies of internal audit plans as approved by the deputy head;
  • Copies of any management letters resulting from the audits of the Office of the Auditor General;
  • Electronic copies of reports on all completed internal audits before they are posted on the departmental web site;
  • Access to internal auditing staff and their working papers; and
  • The annual report of the departmental audit committee including the committee's assessment of the departmental internal audit function.

5. Enquiries

Please send any questions about this directive to:

Office of the Assistant Comptroller General, Internal Audit
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
L'Esplanade Laurier
300 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R5


Fax: (613) 952-3698

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