Audit and evaluation
This information from the Minister’s transition binder was current as of November 2019. We don’t update this page as it is part of the historical record.
The Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) conducts independent audits and studies that provide objective information, advice and assurance to Parliament, territorial legislatures, boards of crown corporations, government and Canadians.
The OAG has a legislative basis in the Auditor General Act, the Financial Administration Act and a number of other statutes. The Auditor General’s powers and responsibilities are set forth in legislation passed by Parliament.
Since 1995, as a result of amendments to the Auditor General Act, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada has a specific mandate related to the environment and sustainable development. This mandate is carried out by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD), on behalf of the Auditor General.
Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development
The Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is appointed by the Auditor General of Canada for a seven-year term.
The current interim Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development is Andrew Hayes. On behalf of the Auditor General, the Commissioner provides parliamentarians with analysis and recommendations on the federal government’s efforts to protect the environment and foster sustainable development.
The Commissioner conducts performance audits, and is responsible for:
- monitoring sustainable development strategies of federal departments
- overseeing the environmental petitions process
- auditing the federal government’s management of environmental and sustainable development issues
Environment Minister’s responsibilities relative to OAG and CESD Audits
While it is the responsibility of the President of the Treasury Board to regularly provide updates to Cabinet on audits of the Office of the Auditor General, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to provide updates on CESD reports.
Environment and Climate Change Canada coordinates the Government of Canada’s overall approach on CESD reports. The Minister acts as the primary spokesperson on the overall response to the reports and takes questions in the House related to the Government’s environmental performance and agenda.
The environmental petition process
The environmental petition process was created as a result of a 1995 amendment section 22 of the Auditor General Act. It is a unique way for Canadians to bring their concerns and questions about environmental issues to the attention of the federal Ministers responsible and obtain responses from them.
The CESD administers the process on behalf of the Auditor General of Canada and reports annually to Parliament. The Office of the Auditor General consider petitions and the related responses when developing its multi-year performance audit program.
ECCC is typically among the top three departments that receive the most petitions. The environmental petition process requires coordination among various groups within the Department as well as, in some instances, among departments and agencies.
The environmental petitions process comprises various requirements, the most significant of which is that a final response form the Minister must be provided to the petitioner within 120 calendar days of receipt of the petition.
In FY 2018 to 2019, ECCC received the most petitions (8), and responded to all within the 120-day statutory deadline.
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