Legislative auditing comprises, to the extent deemed appropriate by the Auditor General, financial audits, audits to ensure the compliance of operations with statutes, regulations, policy statements and directives, as well as the performance audits. The latter includes special audits carried out at the request of the government or the Conseil du trésor.
The main entities included in the Auditor General’s field of jurisdiction are public bodies and government agencies within the meaning of the Auditor General Act.
In terms of financial auditing, this field of jurisdiction covers all public funds and other public property of the government and its agencies, which represents close to 300 entities. As for performance auditing, its jurisdiction includes, in addition to the aforementioned entities, all public and government agencies that do not produce separate financial statements. To these must be added the beneficiaries of grants paid by these agencies, such as those of the health and social services network and those of the education network.
Certain entities may, pursuant to their constitutive act, entrust the audit of their books and accounts to chartered professional accountant firms. In such cases, the Auditor General exercises a right of examination. This right allows the Auditor General to examine the files of the external auditor and to request additional work, if necessary. It also gives the Auditor General the possibility to inform the National Assembly of any situation that it considers appropriate.
This type of audit includes the audit of financial statements and that of other financial information as well as the audit of compliance of operations having a financial impact with laws, regulations, policies and directives. The purpose of this type of audit is to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements and the information are free from material misstatement. Financial audits may give rise to the production of a report to those charged with governance and management, which contains recommendations that aim notably to improve internal control of the entity.
The aim of performance audit is to clarify the means that managers put in place to administer, in an economic, efficient and effective manner, the resources entrusted to them. The audit of the use made of grants paid by public bodies and government agencies as well as the audit of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Act are also part of this type of audit. However, these audit engagements do not examine the merits of policy statements and the objectives of the various programs.
In order to facilitate communications with the organizations concerned, the Guide à l'intention des entités auditées (Guide intended for audited entities) has been prepared. These entities will find answers to their questions concerning how the work will unfold and the collaboration that they will be called upon to provide.
When a performance audit report is tabled, the entities concerned must draw up an action plan that will enable them to apply the Auditor General's recommendations and file progress reports. A guide, entitled Guide à l’intention des entités auditées, Processus de suivi des recommandations : plan d’action et états d’avancement , has been prepared to assist entities with those tasks. The French-language guide answers questions concerning the manner in which the work will take place and the requirements on which the Auditor General will base its assessment of the action plan and the application of recommendations.
The Auditor General Act empowers the Auditor General to audit the use made of grants paid by a government department or agency to an institution, association or enterprise. The examination of the use made of grants may be performed as part of a financial or performance audit or in work related to compliance with laws, regulations, policy statements and directives.
Special audits are carried out at the request of the government or the Conseil du trésor, but the Auditor General must not let such work take precedence over its main obligations.
Within the context of its audits, the Auditor General makes significant and constructive recommendations and comments likely to help entities improve and engage in enlightened governance. Moreover, the Auditor General sees to it that authorities adhere to these recommendations.
The managers of the entities for which the recommendations are intended usually look for solutions and means to implement these recommendations. Following audit work, the Auditor General performs an annual follow-up on the application of recommendations to assess whether the audited entities have remedied the deficiencies noted during the audit.