The mandate of Environment Canada’s Audit and Evaluation Branch (AEB) is to provide the Deputy Minister and senior management with objective, independent and evidence-based information, assurance and advice on management practices, controls and information; and on the performance of programs, policies and initiatives to enhance results-oriented and accountable management, based on “best practices” and professional standards (Treasury Board and the Institute of Internal Auditors).
The internal audit function is carried out under the authority of the Federal Accountability Act (December 2006) and the Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit (April 2006). The Government of Canada has adopted the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Professional Practices Framework and the Department is required to meet IIA standards in undertaking internal audit responsibilities. The evaluation function is carried out under the authority of the Federal Accountability Act and the Treasury Board Evaluation Policy (February 1, 2001).
The Strategic Planning and Coordination (SPC) division is responsible for coordinating the risk-based audit and evaluation planning process, reporting and quality assurance to ensure that the Departmental Audit and Evaluation plans, reports and activities contribute to the Department’s and the government’s priorities for the use of audit and evaluation as keys to strengthening public service governance, accountability and transparency. The SPC division provides strategic and secretariat support to the External Audit Advisory Committee and the Departmental Evaluation Committee. SPC manages the relationship with all external auditors; liaises with the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) on their planned audits and studies; provides assessments and advice to the Minister, Deputy Minister, senior departmental managers, EAAC and DEC on audits and reports issued by the OAG; and assists departmental managers in responding to environmental petitions received from the CESD.
The Internal Audit division provides the Deputy Minister and senior management with objective and independent evidence-based information, assessment and advice on the adequacy of management practices, control and accountability mechanisms. Other activities include conducting special investigations of possible fraud or wrongdoing as required.
The Evaluation division ensures that departmental management receives timely, strategically focused, objective and evidence-based information on the effectiveness and efficiency of departmental policies, programs and initiatives. Other activities include: providing expert advice and advisory services in the area of management practices and evaluation; providing consultation to program managers on the performance measurement strategies for all new and ongoing program spending; and reviewing Treasury Board submissions to ensure evaluation commitments are sound.
Treasury Board has approved the creation of a three-member independent External Audit Advisory Committee to advise the Deputy Minister and provide oversight to the internal audit function.
The Department has also established a new Departmental Evaluation Committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister, to provide oversight to the evaluation function. These changes in governance will further strengthen the capacity of the Audit and Evaluation Branch to carry out its responsibilities with independence and objectivity.
The Audit and Evaluation Branch, reporting directly to the Deputy Minister, consists of an executive level Chief Audit Executive and Director General of Evaluation; directors of strategic planning and coordination, internal audit and evaluation; eight current internal auditors (with two additional positions currently being staffed); one evaluation associate director; eight current evaluators; and two current senior officers in SPC (with a third position currently being staffed).
For 2008–09, professional resource requirements to carry out audit engagements, evaluation projects and planning and coordination are 183 person months and $564,000. For the same period, there are 195 person months available. A breakdown of the person month allocation and professional services by function is shown below. These figures do not include resources dedicated to management activities.
|Internal audit engagements||
|Strategic planning and coordination||
|Available Staff Resources||
- Internal audit engagements: Includes all resources dedicated to internal audit engagements.
- Evaluation projects: Includes all resources dedicated to evaluation projects and resources required
for projects led by other departments and agencies.
- Strategic planning and coordination: Resources dedicated to the coordination of audits being carried
out by the OAG, the CESD and other organizations. It also includes resources dedicated to
environmental petitions, risk-based planning and reporting, recommendations follow-up, support to
DEC and EAAC, and quality assurance.
- Resource requirements for consulting services contracts.
- TB funding for the implementation of the Internal Audit Policy.
- TB funding for specific evaluations.
Figure 1 provides a breakdown of all AEB activities and resources by function for 2008–09 including resources dedicated to EAAC. This figure also includes management activities.
Based on the planned resources shown in Figure 1, it is estimated that the Audit and Evaluation Branch will have the capacity to deliver on its plan for 2008–09.
1 Includes 2 person months for conducting special investigations.
2 Includes 8 person months for the provision of advice and guidance to programs regarding evaluation planning and requirements.
3 Plus an additional $50K from the program for the evaluation of the EcoAction Program.
4 Includes $135K from TB funding for EAAC.