Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits - 2014-15 Departmental Performance Report - Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Response to Parliamentary Committees and External Audits

Response to parliamentary committees

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics:

Report 1 – Statutory Review of the Conflict of Interest Act

(adopted by the Committee on ; presented to the House on )

Summary of report

The Committee noted that although amendments to the Conflict of Interest Act were proposed, the testimony suggested that the Act is generally working well but could benefit from targeted improvements.

The Committee made 16 targeted recommendations to improve the Conflict of Interest Act, divided into four categories: definitions, prohibited activities, administration and enforcement of the Act, and consistency of the Act with other related acts and codes.

Two of the recommendations made by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in her submission to the Committee overlap with the Committee's recommendations.

Discussion of progress made to address recommendations

The Government of Canada welcomed the Committee's report.

The response indicated that the Government would consider how best to implement the improvements in a manner that furthers the purposes of the Act.

Link to the Government response

Government response:
(presented to the House on )

Standing Committee on the Status of Women:

Report 2 – A Study on Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace

(adopted by the Committee on ; presented to the House on )

Summary of report

The Committee report made 14 recommendations regarding the process for addressing sexual harassment in the federal workplace. The report summarized information the Committee had received on the current legal and regulatory framework, the incidence and prevalence of sexual harassment in the federal workplace, the processes for responding to complaints of sexual harassment, and factors affecting sexual harassment in the federal workplace.

Discussion of progress made to address recommendations

The Government of Canada welcomed the report.

The Government also noted that the Treasury Board Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution and the Directive on the Harassment Complaint Process promote the establishment and maintenance of a respectful and harassment-free workplace and the prompt resolution of related complaints.

A number of the Committee's recommendations were addressed in a joint communications initiative from the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Status of Women Canada, and the Labour Program that emphasized deputy heads' responsibilities under the Treasury Board Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution and the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

Link to the Government response

Government response:
(presented to the House on )

Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates:

Report 5 – Open Data: The Way of the Future

(adopted by the Committee on ; presented to the House on )

Summary of report

The Committee’s report summarized information and testimony on users’ needs in relation to the Government of Canada’s open data initiative, the social benefits of using open data, and the best open data practices of other jurisdictions.

The report made 22 recommendations covering three thematic areas:

  • maximizing the effectiveness of open data for Canadians by establishing and promoting common metadata and formatting standards across Canada;
  • providing mandatory policy direction to federal organizations to drive the effective release of open data, while ensuring security; and
  • reporting on the progress of the Government’s open data initiatives and promoting related international commitments.
Discussion of progress made to address recommendations

The Government welcomed the Committee’s report.

In , the Government issued the Directive on Open Government, which sets mandatory, government-wide policy requiring federal organizations to maximize the release of data in standardized, open formats—free of charge and without restrictions on reuse.

In , the Government hosted the third International Open Data Conference entitled “Enabling the Data Revolution.”

Link to the Government response

Government response:
(presented to the House on )

Standing Committee on Public Accounts:

Report 4 – Chapter 2, Access to Online Services, of the Fall 2013 Report of the Auditor General of Canada

(adopted by the Committee on ; presented to the House on )

Summary of report

The Committee's report largely reinforced the findings of the 2013 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada on access to online services,  highlighting testimony heard from the Secretariat, Employment and Social Development Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada and Industry Canada (the entities) during the course of the study.

The Committee's substantive recommendation was that the Secretariat and Employment and Social Development Canada provide the Committee with a government-wide service delivery strategy. The Committee also recommended that the entities give the Committee an overview of their integrated strategies and plans for service delivery, upon completion.

Discussion of progress made to address recommendations

The Government of Canada welcomed the Committee's report.

The Government agreed with the Committee's two recommendations and committed to providing the Committee with a government-wide service delivery strategy by . Regarding the second recommendation, the Government stated that the entities would provide their strategies and plans for service delivery by the end of fiscal year 2015–16.

Link to the Government response

Government response:
(presented to the House on )

Standing Committee on Public Accounts:

Report 9 – Chapter 1, Public Sector Pension Plans, of the Spring 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada

(adopted by the Committee on ; presented to the House on )

Summary of report

The Committee's report largely supported the findings of the 2014 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada on public sector pension plans, highlighting elements of the testimony heard during the course of the study.

The Committee's substantive recommendation was that the Secretariat, National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of Finance Canada (the entities) report back to the Committee on the progress made in responding to the Auditor General's recommendation.

Discussion of progress made to address recommendations

The Government of Canada welcomed the Committee's report and highlighted the recent changes to the public sector pension plans—increasing contribution rates and raising the age of retirement under the public service pension plan from 60 to 65.

The Government committed to reporting back to the Committee on its recommendations by .

Link to the Government response

Government response:
(presented to the House on )

Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights:

Report 2 – Employment Equity in the Public Service: Staying Vigilant for Equality

(adopted by the Committee on ; presented to the Senate on )

Summary of report

The Committee's  report made several recommendations on employment equity in the federal public service under two themes:

  • monitoring and evaluation; and
  • advocacy and employee participation.

The report summarized information the Committee received in testimonies from various entities in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The Committee's report showed that the core public administration has made significant progress in achieving employment equity goals over the years.

Discussion of progress made to address recommendations

The Government of Canada thanked the Committee for the in-depth work undertaken to examine and assess employment equity in the public service.

With respect to monitoring and evaluation, the response highlighted that the Government currently produces and tracks a significant amount of data related to employment equity. The Government committed to sharing enhanced data and information on employment equity through platforms such as the Open Data Portal.

The Government agreed in principle with the recommendations regarding advocacy and employee participation in employment equity issues. With respect to the recommendation to create an Employment Equity Champions and Chairs Committee for women, the Government noted that women have not chosen to organize as an employment equity group in the federal public service, as others have done.

Link to the Government response

Government response:
(presented to the Senate on )

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

2014 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 1—Public Sector Pension Plans

The audit focused on the public service pension plan, the Canadian Forces pension plan, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) pension plan. Together, these three plans represent 95 per cent of the government's public sector pension liability.

The objective of the audit was to examine whether the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (the Secretariat), the RCMP, National Defence, and the Department of Finance Canada, in keeping with their respective responsibilities, had considered the relevant information, analyses and scenarios that could affect the plans' costs and thereby impact their sustainability. The Office of the Auditor General also examined whether these entities had carried out selected key aspects of their governance and management responsibilities regarding the pension plans. Finally, the audit examined whether the information provided to stakeholders, who include taxpayers and parliamentarians, was clear and understandable.

The Secretariat received four recommendations. The Secretariat's responses can be found in this chapter's Appendix B—List of recommendations.

Chapter 2—Procuring Relocation Services

The objective of the audit was to examine whether Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), National Defence, the RCMP, and the Secretariat had fulfilled their responsibilities in awarding the 2009 contract for the Integrated Relocation Program in accordance with the Treasury Board Contracting Policy, Government Contracts Regulations, and the PWGSC Supply Manual. The audit also examined whether the decisions and actions of these organizations had facilitated access and encouraged competition.

The chapter made one recommendation in collaboration with the Secretariat; however, no management response was required.

2014 Fall Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Chapter 5—Departmental Progress in Implementing Sustainable Development Strategies

This audit is part of the Commissioner's annual monitoring of sustainable development strategy commitments. The audit focused on commitments made in the Government of Canada's 2010 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy to strengthen consideration of the environment through the use of strategic environmental assessments.

The audit examined whether departments, the Secretariat and the Privy Council Office had the mechanisms in place to support compliance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals and related guidelines, and to ensure that environmental implications and considerations are integrated into proposals submitted to ministers, Cabinet or the Treasury Board.

The following departments were selected for the audit: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Transport Canada.

The Secretariat did not receive any recommendations.

2014 Fall Report of the Auditor General of Canada

Chapter 4—Providing Relocation Services

The objective of the audit was to examine whether the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the RCMP had fulfilled their responsibilities in managing selected requirements of the 2009 Integrated Relocation Program contract in accordance with the relevant government authorities and terms and conditions of the contract. The audit assessed the extent to which the CAF and the RCMP had monitored the services provided under the contract and had taken corrective action, when necessary, in the areas of financial management and performance measurement.

Relocation services for federal public service employees were not included in the scope of the audit. The Office of the Auditor General did not audit PWGSC's role as contract authority, or the Secretariat's role in leading policy development and interpretation for client departments. Moving services for household goods and effects, which are provided at an additional cost under separate contracts, were also not within the scope of this audit.

The Secretariat was a third party in the audit and did not receive any recommendations.

Chapter 5—Support to the Automotive Sector

The objective of the audit was to examine whether Industry Canada, the Department of Finance Canada, and Export Development Canada, in fulfilling their respective roles and responsibilities, had managed the financial support to the automotive sector in a way that contributed to the viability of the companies and the competitiveness of this sector in Canada.

The Office of the Auditor General examined whether Industry Canada had managed the Automotive Innovation Fund in a manner that took risks into account, and had monitored and reported measurements on the results against the program's objectives.

The Secretariat was a third party in the audit and did not receive any recommendations.

Chapter 7—Documentary Heritage of the Government of Canada—Library and Archives Canada

The objective of the audit was to examine whether Library and Archives Canada had fulfilled its responsibilities for acquiring and preserving government documentary heritage from federal institutions, and for facilitating access to these records for current and future generations.

The following five government institutions were consulted as part of the audit: Employment and Social Development Canada, Parks Canada, the National Film Board, Natural Resources Canada, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The Secretariat was a third party in the audit and did not receive any recommendations.

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