Departmental Audit Committees

Departmental audit committees (DACs) are an integral part of the Government of Canada's efforts to ensure the rigorous stewardship and accountability of public funds across its operations.

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.

DAC members are seasoned professionals who have high-level business management skills and experience with complex organizations.

Appointment of Departmental Audit Committee Members

A process for recruiting and appointing departmental audit committee (DAC) members has been developed in consultation with departments.

What does a DAC do?

A DAC is a strategic resource for the deputy head. It provides objective advice and recommendations to the deputy head regarding the sufficiency, quality and results of assurance on the adequacy and functioning of the department's risk management, control and governance frameworks and processes (including accountability and auditing systems). Deputy heads can use this information to enhance accountability, transparency and the overall performance of their departments.

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.

The independent members of the DAC shall submit an annual report to the deputy head that will:

  • Summarize the results of the committee's reviews of areas of responsibility;
  • Provide an independent assessment and make recommendations as needed on the capacity, independence and performance of the internal audit function; and
  • Express views in the annual report that are entirely those of the independent members, notwithstanding any assistance given by departmental officials in the preparation of the annual report.

What role does the Office of the Comptroller General play?

The Office of the Comptroller General supports DACs across the federal public service. Key responsibilities include the following:

  • Recruiting DAC members;
  • Tenure management of DAC members;
  • Engaging community support;
  • Researching and sharing leading practices;
  • Establishing competency profiles to guide the recruitment of external audit committee members; and
  • Establishing or proposing other requirements related to the terms and conditions of appointment for DAC members.

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