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2003 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada Appendix D—Report on the audit of the President of the Treasury Board's report to Parliament

2003 November Report of the Auditor General of Canada

November 2003 Report

Appendix D—Report on the audit of the President of the Treasury Board's report to Parliament

Tablings in Parliament for Parent Crown Corporations: Annual Reports and Summaries of Corporate Plans and Budgets

The Financial Administration Act requires the President of the Treasury Board to lay before each House of Parliament a report concerning the timing of tabling, by appropriate ministers, of annual reports and summaries of corporate plans and budgets of Crown corporations subject to the reporting provisions of Part X of the Act. The Act also requires the Auditor General to audit the accuracy of the report and to present the results of this audit in her annual report to the House of Commons.

The report on tablings is the responsibility of the President of the Treasury Board and is included in her annual report to Parliament, Crown Corporations and Other Corporate Interests of Canada, which is required to be tabled not later than 31 December (not tabled for 2003 at time of going to press). The report on these tablings allows Parliament to hold the appropriate ministers (and, ultimately, the Crown corporations) accountable for providing, within the relevant statutory deadlines, the information required under the Financial Administration Act. Accordingly, the report is required to indicate the time at, before, or within which the annual reports and the summaries of corporate plans, capital budgets, and operating budgets (and amendments to them) were required to be tabled before each House during the reporting period, and the time they were actually tabled.

Auditor's report

To the House of Commons

As required by subsection 152(2) of the Financial Administration Act, I have audited the information contained in the President of the Treasury Board's report on tablings for the year ended 31 July 2003. The report on tablings is the responsibility of the President of the Treasury Board. My responsibility is to express an opinion on the report on tablings based on my audit.

I conducted my audit in accordance with the standards for assurance engagements established by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. Those standards require that I plan and perform an audit to obtain reasonable assurance as to whether the report on tablings is free of significant misstatement. My audit included examining evidence supporting the deadlines, the actual tabling dates, and other disclosures provided in the report on tablings.

In my opinion, the information contained in the report on tablings is accurate in all significant respects, in accordance with the description of the Deadlines for Tabling in Parliament that accompanies the report.

The following paragraph is intended to highlight certain information that I believe may be of interest to parliamentarians and that is not highlighted specifically or disclosed in the report on tablings in its current format. This information indicates, that compared with last year, the timeliness of corporate reporting has improved.

This year's report on tablings identifies 72 documents that were tabled late. This represents a decrease of 97 over last year in the number of late tablings. In addition, the report does not disclose that in 18 instances (compared with 33 in 2002), corporate plans were approved by the Governor in Council after the beginning of the period covered by the plans. In 14 of those instances (18 in 2002), the plans were approved more than two months after the beginning of the period covered by the plan.

Richard Flageole, FCA
Assistant Auditor General
for the Auditor General of Canada

Ottawa, Canada
October 30, 2003