Response to parliamentary committees and external audits

From Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: Employment and Social Development Canada 2016–2017 Departmental Results Report

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Response to parliamentary committees

OAG Audit of the Canada Pension Plan – Disability (CPP-D) program – ESDC appearance at the public accounts committee on April 21, 2016

Report:

Summary: In its Fall 2015 Report, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) released a performance audit that examined whether ESDC assessed applications for the CPP-D benefit in a consistent and timely manner. It also examined whether the Tribunal, supported by the ATSSC, decided on CPP-D appeals in a timely manner.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts (the Committee) held a hearing on this audit on 21 April 2016. From the OAG, the Committee met with Michael Ferguson, Auditor General of Canada, and Glenn Wheeler, Principal. ESDC was represented by Ian Shugart, Deputy Minister, and Benoît Long, Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Processing and Payment Services Branch, Service Canada. The Tribunal was represented by Murielle Brazeau, Chairperson, and Margot Ballagh, Vice-Chairperson, Appeal Division. Finally, Marie-France Pelletier, Chief Administrator, and Raynald Chartrand, Executive Director, appeared on behalf of the ATSSC.

The committee made 9 recommendations related to: streamlining and simplifying the application results, analyze results of triage, measurement and reduction of time for completion of application, feedback from applicants and beneficiaries, services standards review, collection and capture of data, formal quality assurance framework, the social security tribunal and analyzing results of triage.

The report also requested a Government Response.

House of Commons standing committee on public accounts

Summary: On April 21, 2016, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to report on progress and answer questions with regards to Report 6, 2015 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada on the Canada Pension Plan Disability Program. At this hearing, the Auditor General and the Chairperson of the Social Security Tribunal of Canada also appeared.

At the Standing Committee appearance, the Department confirmed its agreement with the Auditor General's eight recommendations to address concerns with the initial application process, the timeliness of decisions, the consistency and quality of decisions, and the timeliness of appeals decided by the Social Security Tribunal. The Department also tabled a Management Action Plan with specific commitments to address each recommendation. The Department has fully addressed the seven recommendations directed to ESDC.

On September 28, 2016, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled its report entitled Report 13: Report 6, Canada Pension Plan Disability Program, of the Fall 2015 Reports of the Auditor General with the House of Commons. The report provides nine recommendations which align with the Auditor General’s report with regards to improving application process, the timeliness of decisions, the consistency and quality of decisions, and the timeliness of appeals decided by the Social Security Tribunal.

The Government tabled its response to the Committee's report on December 8, 2016. The Government Response provides further details on initiatives that demonstrate the Government's progress and commitment in addressing each of the Committee's nine recommendations.

House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities

Report:

On September 19, 2016, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA) tabled its report on the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program which outlined 21 recommendations, with implications for Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and the Canada Border Services Agency. The Committee’s recommendations focused on promoting jobs for Canadians and permanent residents, strengthening worker protections, fostering innovation by facilitating the entry of global talent, and providing pathways to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers.

The Government Response to HUMA was tabled in the House of Commons on January 30, 2017. The Response pointed to early actions already taken by the Government and indicated the Government’s plan to announce further details on changes to the TFW Program in Budget 2017.

As part of Budget 2017, the Government proposed to invest $279.8 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $49.8 million per year thereafter, to support the continued delivery of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and the International Mobility Program. Budget 2017 also proposed to provide an additional $7.8 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, to implement a new Global Talent Stream under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Further, on April 7, 2017, the Government outlined the path forward plan to address the recommendations of the HUMA committee. Building on the measures already announced, the Department committed to undertake activities to increase access to job opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents, better protect foreign workers, and support business growth while working with IRCC to explore pathways to permanent residence.

The report also requested a Government Response.

Response to the Auditor General (including to the commissioner of the environment and sustainable development)

There were no audits tabled in 2016-17.

Response to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC)

OPC Audit of Old Age Security (OAS) program

Report:

Summary: The audit focused on the protection of personal information used, disclosed and retained by ESDC to administer the OAS program. The audit included a review of the Social Security Tribunal’s (SSC’s) role in safeguarding OAS information residing on its IT infrastructure.

The audit objective was to assess whether ESDC has appropriate controls for the OAS program - including policies, practices and procedures - to comply with its obligations under the Privacy Act to ensure appropriate use, disclosure and retention of personal information.

Note: The audit observations and recommendations are organized into six categories: roles and responsibilities of ESDC and SSC for the protection of client information; IT security; Identity and access management and monitoring; Retention and disposal of personal information; Information sharing agreements; and Physical security. Four out of the six recommendations have been fully implemented.

Response to external audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

There were no audits tabled in 2016-17 requiring a response.

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