Response to parliamentary committees and external audits

Response to parliamentary committees

House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates

The Committee undertook a study on small and medium enterprises in federal procurement and the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business, and tabled its report on June 20, 2018.

Report 15 — Modernizing Federal Procurement for Small and Medium Enterprises, Women-Owned and Indigenous Businesses outlines the main challenges of the current federal procurement process and identifies barriers preventing small businesses and those owned by women and Indigenous peoples from accessing federal contracts. Chapter 6 evaluates the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business and calls for improved data collection as well as better awareness and use of the strategy across all Government departments. Accessibility and simplification are addressed in the supplementary opinion from the Conservative Party of Canada.

The Government Response, tabled on October 18, 2018, outlines 2 cornerstones for success in procurement modernization: building an open and transparent procurement foundation and delivering a simpler, accessible system. Actions taken addressing the 40 recommendations are grouped according to 6 themes identified in the report.

House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs

The Committee studied the current processes for settling specific and comprehensive claims, as well as to identify challenges, benefits and outcomes for Indigenous communities, and tabled its report on March 19, 2018.

Report 12 — Indigenous Land Rights: Towards Respect and Implementation identifies the need to reform the specific and comprehensive land claims policy, and amend the Specific Claims Tribunal Act through a transparent co-development process that is rooted in the recognition of rights, and guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The report calls on the Government to work in partnership with Indigenous peoples to reform the funding models for the specific claims, comprehensive claims, Treaty Land Entitlement, and Additions to Reserve processes — including the forgiveness of all outstanding loans — and to make dispute resolution mechanisms available to Indigenous communities. The report also recommends that the Government create an independent office to monitor the implementation of comprehensive land claims and specific claims agreements, and support Indigenous community-led data collection. The report acknowledges the need to develop an improved process to promote awareness of the land claims processes, and to develop a mandatory education and training program for officials working on claims.

The Government Response, tabled on September 17, 2018, outlines the concrete actions being taken by the Government of Canada to shift its approaches to addressing historical grievances, the negotiation of treaties and agreements, and the settlement of specific claims through stronger and better ways of reconciling section 35 rights.

Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples

The Committee examined the subject matter of Bill C-45, An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other acts, as it relates to the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and tabled its report on May 1, 2018.

The Committee’s Eleventh Report, The Subject Matter of Bill C-45: An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts, identifies 5 key issues of concern for Indigenous communities:

  • lack of consultation
  • public education materials pertaining to the legalization of cannabis
  • funding for mental health and addictions services
  • recognition of Indigenous jurisdiction
  • right to participate in economic opportunities

The report proposed 2 amendments to the Bill and 8 policy recommendations for immediate action requiring a Government Response.

The Government Response, tabled on September 18, 2018, outlines the concrete actions being taken and investments being made to advance the objectives of the recommendations, and committed to a progress report back to both chambers by June 2019, on the action areas identified in the Report.

Response to audits conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (including audits conducted by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development)

2018 Fall Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Report 3 — Departmental Progress in Implementing Sustainable Development Strategies

This audit focused on whether the organizations examined had adequately applied the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, and whether they had met their commitments to strengthening their strategic environmental assessment practices.

There were no recommendations for CIRNAC.

Response to audits conducted by the Public Service Commission of Canada or the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Public Service Commission of Canada

Pilot System-Wide Staffing Audit 2018: This audit represents the first comprehensive review of system-wide compliance in staffing. 25 departments and agencies participated in the audit, providing a sample of 386 appointments. The audit had 3 objectives:

  • to determine compliance with respect to organizational staffing system requirements
  • to determine compliance with respect to requirements during the appointment process and for appointments
  • to gauge stakeholder awareness and understanding of requirements, and of their roles and responsibilities

Overall findings indicated full compliance with staffing system requirements, with all 25 participating departments and agencies having made the changes to their staffing systems as required by the New Direction in Staffing. With regards to appointments, PSC found high levels of compliance with legislative, regulatory and policy requirements with respect to merit, consideration of persons with a priority entitlement, and appointment-related authorities (Attestation Form and Oath/Solemn Affirmation).

The audit also pointed to some areas for improvement, particularly related to official languages obligations and the application of the order of preference.

A questionnaire was administered to staffing advisors and hiring managers associated with the sample of appointments covered by the audit to gauge their awareness and understanding of their organizational appointment framework. The results revealed general awareness and understanding of their framework’s requirements, but only a modest indication of staffing culture change at the time of the audit.

Summary of recommendations:

  • Establishment of direction and requirements for organizational staffing systems
  • Greater awareness and understanding of staffing requirements
  • Quality control of staffing documents in relation to official languages
  • Sufficient documentation to explain appointment decisions

CIRNAC has a Staffing Framework, Sub-Delegation Instrument, a Monitoring Framework and documentation available to HR Advisors and Sub-delegated managers that already responded to those recommendations.

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Not applicable.

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