Auditor General Finds Areas Where Improvement Needed

House of Commons Parliament Ottawa

House of Commons Parliament OttawaOTTAWA – The Auditor General has brought down his annual report on the efforts and results of the federal government.

In his Spring 2014 report tabled today in Parliament, Auditor General Michael Ferguson examined a number of different areas, including public sector pension plans and the expansion of federal correctional facilities, which illustrate how important it is for government to consider both the long and short term perspectives in its planning.

“As some of these audits show, government can become caught in a cycle of reacting to pressures, whether to mitigate capacity concerns in prisons or meet program timelines,” said Ferguson. “Though government should work to provide Canadians with programs and services in a timely fashion, planning should also look beyond the needs of the day.”

“Better long-term planning is achievable in many of the areas we are reporting on today, and would improve results for Canadians and make better use of taxpayer dollars,” added AG Ferguson.

Government Accepts Report

Industry Minister James Moore stated, “The Government of Canada continues to meet Canadians’ needs for key statistical data. In its report today, the Office of the Auditor General confirmed that Statistics Canada ensures the quality of its programs, efficiently uses its resources, and effectively identifies and implements its priorities. Statistics Canada will continue to explore innovative methods to produce information for small population groups.

“As always, our government will continue to publish reliable statistical data while maintaining the privacy of everyday Canadians,” continued Moore.

New Democrats Say Conservatives Tired and Worn Out

“Because of mismanagement and a lack of planning, Conservatives are wasting money and failing to deliver services people count on,” said Treasury Board critic, Mathieu Ravignat (Pontiac). “We don’t need more Conservative style denial, like we saw with the F-35 scandal. What Canadians deserve is real accountability–something the government is failing to deliver.”

The NDP state that the “AG outlined a dangerous lack of accountability for public service pensions; grave mishandling of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency from the start; faulty census data – affecting things like the temporary foreign worker program – because of the shortsighted elimination of the long-form census; and a failure to deliver on commitments to First Nations Policing”.

“As the Auditor General made crystal clear, Conservative government mismanagement is plaguing almost every area he studied,” concluded Ravignat. “Time and again they only react to problems after they hit the front page–more evidence of how the Conservatives are a tired and out of gas government.” Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Regional Chief Cameron Alexis, who leads the national portfolio on justice and policing, expressed support for recommendations provided by the Auditor General of Canada released in a report in Ottawa today, and urged Public Safety Canada to work together with First Nations to address gaps in the First Nation policing program.

The Liberals Say Conservative Data Lacking Details Needed

“Today’s report from the Auditor General exposes the Conservatives’ job vacancy data to be of little to no value, and it is clear that they have no plan to deliver economic growth for middle class families,” said Liberal Finance Critic, Scott Brison. “Despite years of recommendations to collect better labour market information, the Conservatives have failed to provide job vacancy data that would help ensure the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and other policies actually contribute to economic growth in Canada.”

The Auditor General’s report concludes that Statistics Canada does not know where job vacancies exist in communities across the country. For example, “reported job vacancies in Alberta could be in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, or any other community in the province.” This is a stunning rebuke of the Conservatives’ ability to make informed decisions on jobs and the economy, including on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“The Conservative government undercut Statistics Canada’s ability to assess the needs of Canadian communities, and as we see today, the National Household Survey has let one million Canadians fall off the map,” said Liberal Industry Critic, Judy Sgro. “Instead of supporting Statistics Canada, the Conservatives are using poor data and Kijiji job postings to paint a picture that justifies more temporary foreign workers. This prevents Canadians and permanent residents from having the first shot at available jobs.”

First Nations Question Real Commitment from Government

“The Auditor General’s report underscores the continued and urgent need for greater access, transparency, safe facilities and comparable level of services in the First Nation policing program – challenges that First Nations have been raising attention to for years,” said AFN Alberta Regional Chief Cameron Alexis. “Funding levels have remained static in the face of growing populations and increased need. We will continue to press at every level for adequate resources for stable and sustainable funding agreements, while at the same time urging cooperation among jurisdictions to address shortfalls.”

The report released this morning by Auditor General Michael Ferguson outlines eight recommendations specific to the First Nations policing program. Its study of the program assessed design and delivery to determine its consistency with the principles outlined in the policy and evaluate the measuring and reporting of Public Safety Canada.

“From the report, it seems that on the whole, the principles of the First Nation policing program have not been upheld based on the agreements or delivery of the program,” said Regional Chief Alexis. “First Nation police services are a demonstrated success and create safer communities, yet remain challenged by substandard working environments, building, capacity and officer complement, equipment and vehicles, training, specialized units. These day–to-day challenges make it difficult to meet the expectations of their communities and often results in the perception that First Nations police services are inferior.”

First Nations continue to call for stable and sustainable funding agreements that meet the specific needs of communities and to achieve designation of First Nation police services as essential services, rather than enhancements to other police services.