Page 6: Health Canada – 2015-2016  – Supplementary Information Tables – Departmental Performance Report – Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to Parliamentary Committees

“Declaration of Health Emergency by First Nations Communities in Northern Ontario” – Report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs tabled on May 19, 2016. The Government Response was tabled on July 20, 2016.

On May 19, 2016, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs tabled its third report in the House of Commons entitled Declaration of Health Emergency by First Nations Communities in Northern Ontario. The Committee made four recommendations: a progress report on steps taken to address the findings of the Spring 2015 audit of the Auditor General of Canada on access to health services for remote Indigenous communities; all nursing stations be capable of providing essential health services to remote Indigenous communities; Health Canada to review medical transportation benefits; and Health Canada to take note of the recommendations provided to the Committee by other witnesses.

The Government Response highlights some of Health Canada's recent efforts aimed at improving health outcomes for Indigenous Canadians and communities, and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working in collaboration with provincial and First Nations partners to take meaningful action to ensure that First Nation communities and individuals receive a range of health programs and services that are responsive to their needs. It also notes that a comprehensive progress report on steps taken to address the findings of the Spring 2015 audit of the Auditor General of Canada has been provided as part of the Government’s response to the report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts, titled Chapter 4, Access to Health Services for Remote First Nations Communities, of the Spring 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada.

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“Chapter 4, Access to Health Services for Remote First Nations Communities, of the Spring 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada” – Report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts was tabled on May 12, 2016.  The Government Response was tabled on July 20, 2016.

On May 12, 2016, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts tabled its seventh report entitled, Chapter 4, Access to Health Services for Remote First Nations Communities, of the Spring 2015 Report of the Auditor General of Canada. This report had been previously presented in the Second Session of the 41st Parliament as the 23rd Report of the Committee. In its report, the Committee raises issues highlighted in the Auditor General’s report regarding nursing stations, medical transportation benefits, access to clinical and health care services, and coordination of health services among jurisdictions. The Committee recommended that (1) Health Canada provide the Committee with its annual turnover rate for nurses working in remote First Nations communities and (2) a progress report be submitted to the Committee outlining its progress in addressing the recommendations contained in Chapter 4 of the Report of the Auditor General of Canada’s Spring 2015 report.

The Government Response (GR) outlines actions taken to date by Health Canada to address the Auditor General’s recommendations related to nursing, health infrastructure, medical transportation benefits, access, and coordination of health services among jurisdictions. The GR also provides the annual turnover rate for nurses working in remote First Nations communities. The GR highlights the Government’s progress to strengthen access to quality care for First Nations living in remote and isolated communities, and its ongoing efforts to increase First Nations and Inuit control over health service design and delivery. The GR also notes that more work is needed to respond to the unique needs and complexities of remote and isolated First Nations communities and that moving forward, Health Canada will continue to work closely with First Nations and Inuit organizations, provinces and territories to improve First Nations and Inuit health outcomes.

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“Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada” – Report by the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology was tabled on March 1, 2016.  The Government Response was tabled on August 5, 2016.

On March 1, 2016, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology (SOCI) tabled its report on obesity and the Government’s role in helping Canadians achieve and maintain healthier weights.

The Committee report contains 21 recommendations suggesting, among other things, a complete revision of Canada’s Food Guide to better reflect scientific evidence, a ban on advertising food and drink to children, a possible tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, a review of nutrition food labelling to make it easier to understand, and a plan for making healthy food more affordable.

The Government Response (GR) is grouped into four themes (healthy eating; regulations, taxation and fiscal measures; physical activity/active living; and multi-sectorial approaches) and highlights Government’s ongoing efforts to help Canadians live healthier lives. While the GR is supportive, in principle, of the Committee’s recommendations, it noted that some of the issues raised in the report fall under exclusive provincial and territorial jurisdiction (e.g. physician practice, childcare facilities, and school programs). The GR emphasizes the Government’s commitment to collaboration with provincial and territorial partners on complementary efforts, and to encourage healthy body weights and to address obesity in Canada.

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Response to the Auditor General (including to the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

Office of the Auditor General – Audit of Access to Health Services for Remote First Nations Communities

Objective: To determine whether Health Canada had reasonable assurance that eligible First Nations individuals living in remote communities in Manitoba and Ontario had access to clinical and client care services and medical transportation benefits.

Health Canada received 11 recommendations.

The report was tabled on April 28, 2015.

Office of the Auditor General – Audit of Federal Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) Prevention and Control

Objective: To determine whether the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada fulfilled key responsibilities to mitigate the public health risks posed by the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance in Canada.

Health Canada received two recommendations.

The report was tabled on April 28, 2015.

The House of Commons Committee on Public Accounts did not undertake a study or present a report addressing this specific chapter of the Report of the Auditor General of Canada (Spring 2015). As such, no Government response was required to be tabled in the House of Commons.

Office of the Auditor General – Audit of Public Accounts for 2014-15

Objectives: To determine whether the audit procedures performed on Health Canada’s financial and accounting information submitted to the Receiver General for Canada support the audit and audit opinion of the consolidated Government of Canada’s financial statements for the year ending March 31, 2015.

There were no matters of concern brought to the attention of management.

The report was tabled in the House of Commons on December 7, 2015.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts presented its report to the House of Commons on Thursday, June 16, 2016. The Government Response is due on December 1, 2016.

Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development – Audit of Pesticide Safety

Objective: To determine whether the Pest Management Regulatory Agency was managing conditional registrations, re-evaluations, special reviews and the removal of pesticides from the market in accordance with the Pest Control Products Act, to prevent unacceptable risks to the health of Canadians and the environment.

Health Canada received seven recommendations.

The report was tabled on January 26, 2016.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development held one meeting to study the 2015 Fall Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The Committee did not present a report to the House and as such, no Government response was required to be tabled in the House of Commons.

Office of the Auditor General – Establishing the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia

Objective: The objective of the study was to inform Parliament about how efforts by British Columbia First Nations and Health Canada overcame the structural impediments identified in the 2011 June Status Report of the Auditor General of Canada, Chapter 4-Programs for First Nations on Reserves, as they established the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia.

The objective of the audit was to determine whether the First Nations Health Authority had established and implemented selected elements of an accountability and governance framework.

Health Canada received one recommendation (the First Nations Health Authority received five recommendations).

The report was tabled on February 2, 2016.

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

Office of the Procurement Ombudsman – Review of government-wide procurement practices regarding standing offers and supply arrangements

Objective: The objective of this review was to determine whether departmental contracts issued against standing offers and supply arrangements were consistent with applicable sections of the Treasury Board Contracting Policy, the Financial Administration Act and regulations made under it, and support the principles of fairness, openness and transparency.

Health Canada received one recommendation.

The report was tabled on December 8, 2015.

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