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ARCHIVED - The Financial Administration Act: Responding to Non-compliance - Meeting the Expectations of Canadians

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The Government of Canada has made a commitment to restoring trust and accountability in government. On December 12, 2003, the government announced a series of initiatives to attain these objectives. Since that time, the government has made strides in strengthening oversight, accountability, and management across the public sector.

On February 10, 2004, the government announced measures aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability across the public sector. These measures included improving oversight activities, principally at the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (the Secretariat), and the launch of three reviews directed at specific areas of public sector management, including one on the compliance and sanction regime under the Financial Administration Act (FAA).

This review's terms of reference covered three broad areas:

  • review of the tools and mechanisms available to the government to prevent and deter instances of mismanagement or the disregard of related laws and directives;
  • review of compliance and sanction regimes applicable to current employees of the Public Service, the broader public sector, as well as former employees; and
  • review of investigative processes and approaches, including those used in seeking recovery of public funds, to determine if and how they can be enhanced.

On March 24, 2004, the government released the Action Plan for Strengthening Public Sector Management and reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen the rules governing compliance with management principles. The Action Plan included a full review of the government's measures for dealing with all aspects of mismanagement or rule breaking. The scope of the review includes prevention and deterrence tools and mechanisms as well as options available to the government, investigative processes and approaches, and recovery of public funds. The 2005 budget documents provided an update on these initiatives.

Most of the research and consultations for the review were conducted in 2004. This served as a basis for discussions and analysis that supported an important part of the management improvement agenda. This report sets out the context within which elements of the Action Plan related to compliance, investigation, and consequences may be considered.

A Word on Methodology

The work underlying this report was done through a series of modules conducted by members of a review team assembled from different areas within the government. Experts in the areas of labour relations, management, and financial management were brought in, along with lawyers with experience in criminal law, labour and employment law, and instrument choice.

The review team consulted subject matter specialists in areas including financial management, law enforcement, and labour relations using methods such as individual discussions and focus groups. Members from the executive cadre down to middle managers also participated in these consultations. A review of practices in other jurisdictions, within Canada and abroad, offered additional insights. The team also conducted both legal and academic research to gain a better understanding of the current state of the law with respect to these issues and of the issues themselves. A list of the organizations and persons consulted is found in Appendix A.

There is no comprehensive empirical evidence concerning the degree or number of cases of non‑compliance or mismanagement in the federal government. The information on non‑compliance and mismanagement used as part of this review was gleaned from reports prepared by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and from anecdotal evidence and information obtained through internal consultation.