Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Introduction

Background

Western Economic Diversification Canada operates in four regions, each with a degree of regional diversity and flexibility. A coherent alignment to corporate goals and priorities is required to achieve overall corporate objectives. Regional Assistant Deputy Ministers are responsible for the controls and processes within their respective regions. Regional Assistant Deputy Ministers are being asked to provide regular assurance as to the adequacy of controls in their respective regions.

In fiscal year 2009-2010, the Alberta Region expended $106 million to deliver and/or administer federal programs in Alberta. As at March 31, 2010, the Alberta Region had 104 full-time equivalent positions.

Audit Objectives

The overall objective of the audit was to provide reasonable assurance to the Deputy Minister that the Alberta Region has in place sound governance, planning, budgeting, forecasting, and reporting processes to support effective decision making. The sub-objectives were:

  • To assess that an appropriate governance structure exists in the region;
  • To ensure that regional performance results are reported and monitored;
  • To assess regional budgeting and forecasting processes and ensure they reflect corporate priorities and financial requirements; and
  • To assess the adequacy of financial monitoring processes in the region.

Key Risks

Management designs controls to mitigate risks. The audit is intended to provide assurance on the existence and effectiveness of management’s controls to mitigate the following risks:

  • The region’s governance structure and framework are inappropriate, incoherent and ineffective;
  • Regional and departmental strategic objectives, plans and priorities are not effectively communicated to all staff and other stakeholders;
  • There is no formal process in place to challenge the assumptions and related resource allocations within the budget;
  • Inaccurate budget and forecast information is provided to management, resulting in flawed decision-making;
  • No formal process of reporting to management exists in the region;
  • Complete, accurate and timely reports are not produced;
  • Performance results are not accurately measured or communicated;
  • Transactions are not accurately coded;
  • Unauthorized individuals approve transactions; and
  • There is non-compliance with Treasury Board and departmental policies, directives and guidelines for the delegation of authorities.

Scope and Methodology

The audit covered the period from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010. The audit focused on management controls, processes and practices in place in the areas of:

  • Governance structure and strategic directions;
  • Planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting;
  • Results and performance reporting;
  • Transaction processing and coding; and
  • Delegation of authorities.

The auditors interviewed key personnel in the Alberta Region, examined records, documents, reports, files, and sampled transactions.

Acknowledgements

The auditors would like to thank management and staff of the Alberta Region for their timely cooperation and assistance provided the audit team throughout the engagement.