What Ottawans should look for in today's auditor general report
AG report will delve into Phoenix, CRA call centres, the settlement of Syrian refugees among other issues
Almost two years into the Phoenix pay fiasco, the federal auditor general will release the first of two highly anticipated reports today, examining the genesis of a system that has left hundreds of thousands of government workers without proper pay.
Auditor Michael Ferguson's report, which will cover a variety of issues from refugee resettlement to the management of crown corporations to CRA call centres, will be tabled in the House of Commons at 10 a.m. He'll discuss his findings at a news conference at 11 a.m. ET.
- CBC Investigation: Phoenix's creative accounting
- Questions of conflict of interest in Phoenix business case
- IBM's "open bag of money"
Phoenix under the microscope
There are now about 520,000 outstanding financial and administrative Phoenix claims, according to Minister of Public Services and Procurement Canada Carla Qualtrough.
The union representing professionals in the public service said these numbers show a 10 per cent increase in cases in the past four months alone.
All sides are looking forward to seeing what the auditor general's report reveals.
"We called in the auditor general in order to help better understand the problems. We look forward to that report," said Qualtrough.
But it won't be the first report on the failed Phoenix system.
Management consultant Goss Gilroy Inc. was commissioned by the federal government to look at the system. Its report, released in early October that found a lack of proper definition, oversight and accountability plagued the new payroll system from the start. That report made it clear it was not an audit.
In the past month, the Senate has decided to scrap the Phoenix system and build a new one. The union representing IT workers has proposed building a new in-house pay program.
Early next year, the auditor general is expected to release a second report looking broadly at the federal government's pay modernization project.
CRA Call Centres
Phoenix is just one of several reports on the Auditor General's agenda on Tuesday.
The office will also examine whether the Canada Revenue Agency's call centres provided Canadian taxpayers with timely access to accurate information.
Royal Military College of Canada
This audit will focus on whether the Royal Military College, located in Kingston, Ontario, has produced the calibre of officers that the Canadian Armed Forces needed at a reasonable cost.
Special Examination of Crown Corporations
The performance audits of the National Capital Commission and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will look at whether these crown corporations' are managed economically and operations are carried out efficiently.
The report will also look at Health Canada's oversight of oral health programs for First Nations and Inuit, as well as how Correctional Services Canada prepares women offenders for release when it comes to the proper mental health services and interventions.
Settlement Services for Syrian Refugees
Two years after Syrian refugees started landing in Canada by the planeload, the auditor general is looking at whether these newcomers received the settlement services from the federal immigration department that they needed to help them integrate into Canada.
The office is also examining whether the department measured the outcomes of its efforts to settle this group.
As of January 2017, more than 40,000 Syrians were resettled in this country, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. More than half of those refugees were sponsored by government.