Highlights from Auditor General Michael Ferguson's spring 2017 report

Some of the highlights from auditor general Michael Ferguson's spring 2017 report, tabled Tuesday.

RCMP failing to meet mental health needs of its members, AG says

Auditor General Michael Ferguson has released a spring report that looks at fossil fuel subsidies, changes to the temporary foreign workers program, custom duties and other issues at federal departments and agencies. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Some of the highlights from auditor general Michael Ferguson's spring 2017 report, tabled Tuesday:

Health in the RCMP

  • The RCMP is failing to meet the mental health needs of its members, with new mental health programs only partially implemented, poorly staffed and inadequately funded; one in six members in need of help failed to get it in an easy and timely way.
  • RCMP supervisors and health services staff often failed to properly support members returning to work from mental health sick leave; one in five who sought mental health support from a health services office did not return to work or was discharged.
  • Read more: Auditor general says RCMP failing to meet Mounties' mental health needs

Temporary foreign workers changes

  • Oversight problems with Canada's temporary foreign workers program have allowed lower-paid international workers to take jobs that could be filled by out-of-work Canadians, with some companies so overly dependent on the program that it could be having unintended economic consequences.
  • Some applications for temporary foreign workers were approved even when employers failed to show they had made reasonable efforts to train existing employees or hire unemployed Canadians, including from under-represented groups, such as First Nations.
  • Enforcement of controls on the program were sparsely applied, with few on-site inspections or face-to-face interviews with foreign workers themselves.
  • Read more: Temporary foreign worker program prone to abuse, Auditor General says

Managing risk of fraud and corruption

  • Five federal organizations and departments the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Global Affairs, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Health Canada and Public Services and Procurement should be doing more to assess and mitigate the risk of fraud, and to ensure employees get mandatory training on values, ethics and conflict of interest.
  • Neither the Canada Border Services Agency nor Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada are sufficiently monitoring or evaluating the controls they have in place to mitigate the risk of corruption among agents and officials.

Border threats

  • Out of 9,082 warnings issued to border agents about potential threats entering the country between April 2015 and March 2016, 56 were overlooked or missed, and the required follow-up was not completed as required. Some of them "involved organized crime and contraband drugs," the audit found.
  • Among 3,125 temporary resident permits issued at land border crossings between March 2015 and April 2016, 113 of them were approved "without appropriate justification," including in some cases to people with criminal convictions.

CBSA and customs duties

  • Staff shortages, a "self-assessment" system and incomplete or incorrect paperwork mean the Canada Border Services Agency doesn't know whether or not it is collecting all customs duties owed on goods being brought into the country.
  • Due to lax paperwork, the border agency and Global Affairs failed to levy $168 million of customs duties on about $131 million worth of quota-controlled (including supply-managed) goods in Canada in 2015, such as dairy products, chicken, turkey, beef and eggs.
  • Some goods brought in duty-free under the Duties Relief Program were sold inside Canada despite the fact the supply-management system requires that they be exported. Six importers had their licences suspended after a 2016 compliance spot-check found all six had been diverting products into the Canadian market.