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ARCHIVED - Internal Audit and Evaluation Bureau - Audit of Electronic Record Keeping


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1.0 Introduction

The Internal Audit and Evaluation Bureau (IAEB) has completed an audit of electronic record keeping for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (the Secretariat) as part of a broader horizontal audit initiated by the Office of the Comptroller General (OCG).

This report relates specifically to the Secretariat as a large department. While OCG developed the audit program, IAEB conducted both the detailed examination phase and the supplementary audit procedures in order to produce a stand-alone audit report for the Secretariat.

1.1 Operating Environment

Information is an essential component of effective management in business. The availability of high-quality, authoritative information to decision makers supports the delivery of programs and services, thus enabling management and staff to be more responsive and accountable.

The Government of Canada is no exception to this theme. Across government, the management of information impacts all lines of business and is a key component in achieving its objectives. Information is being created throughout government at a rapidly increasing rate. Without the capability to effectively manage this information, departments may be at risk of losing their capability to identify and retrieve information in an organized and timely manner.

Within the context of the Government of Canada, the information life cycle [1] (see Appendix A) has been defined as follows:

  • Plan: Users must determine their information needs in order to accomplish their objectives and plan accordingly.
  • Create and collect:As users create and collect information, they need to identify its value to the organization and manage it accordingly, ensuring that the information is accessible to those who need it.
  • Organize: Users should organize their information logically and systematically in order to facilitate search and retrieval.
  • Reuse and share: Once information is organized, users will be able to find and reuse information and leverage its usefulness by sharing it with others, reducing duplication of effort and improving service delivery.
  • Maintain and protect: Protecting information involves not only guarding against unauthorized access, disclosure or destruction, but also preserving its integrity and authenticity.
  • Transfer or destroy: While some information needs to be kept long-term to support an institution's operational needs or to preserve information of enduring value, other information can be disposed of when it has outlived its usefulness.

This life cycle is applicable to all types of information, including paper and electronic records, and should be consistently applied irrespective of type.

1.2 Secretariat Operations

As the administrative arm of the Treasury Board, the Secretariat has a dual mandate: to support the Treasury Board as a committee of ministers and to fulfill the statutory responsibilities of a central government agency. The Secretariat is tasked with providing advice and support to Treasury Board ministers in their role of ensuring value for money as well as providing oversight of the financial management functions in departments and agencies. To this end, the Secretariat makes recommendations and provides advice to the Treasury Board on policies, directives, regulations, and program expenditure proposals with respect to the management of the government's resources. Its responsibilities for the general management of the government affect initiatives, issues, and activities that cut across all policy sectors managed by federal departments and organizational entities and result in the production, review, and sharing of large quantities of government information having varying degrees of information sensitivity to support these functions.

While the ultimate responsibility for corporate information and records rests with the creator of that information, the departmental responsibility to oversee IM activities in line with Government of Canada policies resides in the Corporate Services Sector (CSS) of the Information Management and Technology Directorate (IMTD). The responsible group in this directorate is Enterprise Information Management Services (EIMS) of the Client Service Delivery Division. At the time of our audit, forecast resources for this group relative to the Secretariat's overall resources were as follows:

Fiscal Year 2011–12 2012–13 2013–14
Sector/Department EIMS Secretariat EIMS Secretariat EIMS Secretariat
($ thousands)
FTEs 23.39 2,216 23.76 1,633 23.7 1,570
Total 1,709 2,701,592 1,728 2,589,375 1,738 2,572,750