February 2, 2022

Minutes of the Audit and Evaluation Committee (AEC) Meeting

February 2, 2022
09:30am to 12:00pm
Microsoft Teams Meeting


Graham Fraser, External member - Chair

André Grondines, External member

Caroline Maynard, Information Commissioner

Secretary to the Committee:

Bojana Terzic, Team Lead -Strategic Planning, Policy and Program Evaluation and Audit

Regular attendees:

France Labine, Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services, Strategic Planning and Transformation Services, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Audit Executive (CAE)

Senior Management Committee:

Layla Michaud, Deputy Commissioner, Investigations and Governance

Gino Grondin, Deputy Commissioner, Legal Services and Public Affairs  


Riowen Abgrall, Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Sébastien Lafond, Director, Finance, Procurement, Administration and Security and Deputy Chief Financial Officer (DCFO)

Tania Ladouceur, Associate Director, Human Resources

James Ellard, Director, Communications and Public Affairs

Marie-Josée Montreuil, Director, Special Projects and Senior Counsel

Meeting Summary

Approval of Agenda and Record of Decisions and action items from the November 3, 2021 meeting.

Approval of OIC management action plan related to Evaluation of Internal Controls related to Payroll - Presentation of assurance review report (findings and recommendations)

Approval of OIC management action plan related to Public Service Commission (PSC) Cyclical Assessment of Staffing - Presentation of external auditor’s report (key findings and recommendations)

Sectorial Updates including Parliamentary Affairs and Communication directorate.

OAG Update and Report to Audit Committee (RAC).

1. Welcome and Opening Remarks

The Chair and the Commissioner welcomed everyone to the meeting.  The Chair noted and congratulated the Commissioner on accomplishments during the current fiscal year stressing the number of completed files despite of ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation.

The Chair also reflected on the upcoming year that will bring more changes in the way work is done as the OIC (and GoC overall) move to hybrid work arrangements.

The Commissioner praised the staff for resilience and agility demonstrated during this period.

2. Minutes and Action Items from the November 3, 2021 Meeting.

The members approved the minutes of the November 3, 2021 meeting.

The action items were reviewed and approved.

Action item:

  • Publication of the minutes of the November 3, 2021 meeting on the OIC website.

3. Evaluation of Internal Controls related to Payroll – Presented by S. Lafond and T. Ladouceur

CFO, F. Labine provided context for the evaluation, findings and OIC management action plan. External Member, Mr. Grondines provided high level observations:

  • Evaluation done by an external auditor provides additional layer of objectivity
  • OAG was given and opportunity to comment on the evaluation. I, in addition Mr. Abgrall was asked to provide his input.
  • Most of management actions started already, many even closed, indicating that the OIC is diligently working on some key improvement and recommendations.
  • Mr. Lafond provided additional details, explaining that the office moved from paper to electronic processes (adding key controls)

External member requested further explanation on whether Phoenix impacted these processes.  Mr. Lafond provided high-level explanation and Ms. Ladouceur further explained how system is essentially configured to automate the information flow between HR and Finance.

Chair noted how Phoenix impacted overall operations and questioned a MAP item 2.1 to reconfirm if it would be implemented in January.  Mr. Lafond confirmed that 2.1 was indeed completed in January however related items 2.2. and 2.3 are still in progress.

CFO further explained planned next steps. External Member questioned if funds are secured already. CFO responded that yes, human resources (leave and overtime) and payroll (Phoenix) applications already exist.

Action items:

  • Publish the report on the OIC web site.
  • Publish OIC Management Action Plan and a new standing item on AEC forward agenda.

4. PSC Cyclical Assessment of Staffing Evaluation  – Presented by T. Ladouceur

Ms. Ladouceur provided context and explained that evaluation was conducted by external assurance provider.  CAE provided further context and added that PSC commended the approach that the OIC took by looking at the entire processes rather than the transactions chosen in the sampling.

External member asked if PSC provided written observation and CAE explained that it did not.

The Chair reinforced section of the report that clearly stated that processes are compliant with policy and regulation frameworks.

Action item:

  • Publish the report on the OIC web site.
  • Publish OIC Management Action Plan and a new standing item on AEC forward agenda.

5. RAC – Presented by R. Abgrall

R. Abgrall presented RAC plan for the upcoming FY stressing that RAC will still focuses on Phoenix.

He provided the OAG Update including changes in staff.

Chair asked if RAC would be too intense on the financial management staff at the OIC and it was confirmed that just in time approach will be employed.

Action items:

  • No Action Required.

6. Financial and Corporate Services Update – Presented by F. Labine

The Deputy Commissioner, Corporate Services provided an overview of recent changes in her sector, including arrival of new manager (admin and security) and the return of the DCFO (Mr. Lafond) from parental leave.

In the operations side: SMC just approved the attestation framework related to the mandatory vaccination  program and presented key highlights of year-end forecasts at period 9 review along with key financial assumptions (risk management).

External member asked about adjustments in budget (such as inflation).  Furthermore, about the budget transfer from salary to operating and if we foresee any challenges by TBS to that.  CFO explained that this should not be an issue and was requested through Supplementary Estimates C in December.

The members reviewed and discussed the information presented.

Action item:

  • No action required.

7. Investigations Update – Presented by L. Michaud

The Deputy Commissioner provided an update on the team’s results on the priorities for 2021–22 up to date such as the closure of investigation files, the management of inventory, the implementation of legislative amendments, the optimization of operations, and current statistics of complaints registered and closed. 

External member enquired about recent increase in inventory and Deputy Commissioner explained nature of files related to IRCC.

External member also enquired about training given to the new investigators and Mrs. Montreuil explained that in collaboration with legal services, training is developed and delivered.  The Commissioner added that feedback from employees was positive and peer collaboration was evident.

The members reviewed and discussed the information provided.

External member asked if Covid had an impact on increase in file volume. The Commissioner responded that it had but this should not be an excuse for delays by departments. The Commissioner reemphasized how well training and onboarding of new members was done and expressed the hope that workforce will stabilize in the upcoming years.

The Deputy Commissioner provided overview of upcoming challenges for the sector, remaining pertinent delivering (such as Library and Archive Canada files) while training to new employees is underway. In addition stability of the workforce is extremely important.  To this end, a review of organizational structure will be conducted in the upcoming fiscal year.

External member congratulated Deputy Commissioner on accomplishments and Chair joined.

Action item:

  • No action required

8. Legal Services Update – Presented by G. Grondin

The Deputy Commissioner, Legal Services and Public Affairs provided an overview of the Legal Service activities, workload and staffing updates noting that the team has been stable for a while and that the collaboration with other sectors is good.
The Commissioner noted that the upcoming Court Case would be in virtual (Feb. 7th) and welcome AEC members to attend.

The members reviewed and discussed the information provided.

Action item:

  • Hyperlink to the Court Case (against Health Canada) was sent by email.
  • No action required

9. Parliamentary Activities and Communication Update – Presented by J. Ellard

The Director provided an update on activities such as the Commissioner’s engagements, internal Communications, tabled reports, translation services, and ATIP. In addition, he provided the update related to Communication team, use of more advanced online tools and progress in work effectiveness as well as the update on the work of Web and Social Media Governance Committee (TORs).  In addition, he explained how the Investigations team plays pivotal role in external web site content.

Finally, Director provided an update on how experimentation is used to achieve efficiencies and promote ATIP among students. 

The members reviewed and discussed the information provided.

Action item:

  • No action required

In Camera Session

A brief in camera discussion was held with the Commissioner, the Chair and the two external members.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for June 1, 2022.

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