Departmental Audit Committees

Since their inception in 2006, Departmental Audit Committees (DACs) have formed an integral component of the Government of Canada's efforts to ensure rigorous stewardship and accountability for public resources.

The Financial Administration Act requires that deputy heads of large departments establish an independent departmental audit committee that includes a majority of external members who have been recruited from outside the federal public administration. DACs report directly to deputy heads of federal departments. The Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit and Directive on Internal Audit provide that a deputy head and the Comptroller General of Canada shall jointly select external audit committee members for approval by the Treasury Board. Appointments are for a term of four years and are renewable once.

What does a DAC do?

A DAC is an advisory body whose role is defined in the Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit and the Directive on Internal Audit. The Terms and Conditions of Appointment for Audit Committee Members address the key issues that surround the initiation and management of members' tenure. A DAC is expected to support the deputy head in his or her accounting officer role by providing objective advice and guidance, independent of management, in the areas of governance, risk management and control.

The key areas of responsibility of DAC members are as follows:

  • Values and ethics;
  • Risk management;
  • Management control framework;
  • Internal audit function;
  • External assurance providers;
  • Follow-up on management action plans;
  • Financial statements and Public Accounts of Canada reporting; and
  • Accountability reporting.

A Guidebook for a Departmental Audit Committee has been established to provide additional information and guidance. The Guidebook presents a framework to support the work of DACs, and remains premised on the understanding that its contents should be adapted to meet each committee’s and department’s unique needs and circumstances.

Read on to learn more:

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