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As an officer of Parliament and agent of change, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) has a mandate to promote the Official Languages Act and oversee its full implementation, protect the language rights of Canadians, and promote linguistic duality and bilingualism in Canada. It is the duty of the Commissioner to take all actions and measures within the authority of the Commissioner with a view to ensuring recognition of the status of each of the official languages and compliance with the spirit and intent of this Act in the administration of the affairs of federal institutions, including any of their activities relating to the advancement of English and French in Canadian society.
The Commissioner ensures that the three key objectives of the Act are achieved and takes all necessary measures in this respect. These objectives are:
- the equality of English and French in Parliament, the Government of Canada, the federal administration and the institutions subject to the Act;
- the development and vitality of official language minority communities in Canada; and,
- the equal status of English and French in Canadian society.
OCOL has more than 170 employees and an annual budget in excess of $20 million. Annually, OCOL receives over 800 complaints, publishes 2 to 5 audit reports on average, performs legal interventions and the Commissioner performs various activities all across the country to promote official languages.
Over the last few years, OCOL has faced a number of changes and transformations including the evolution of the role of Ombudsman for official languages, the streamlining of the approach to handle complaints and the re-thinking of regional officesí structure and role. Considering that other significant changes are expected, such as an A-Base/strategic review, the implementation of a large IM/IT project and the retirement of key members of personnel, it is clear that a strong risk-based internal audit plan will be an important governance element in helping OCOL achieve its objectives.
This document outlines OCOLís internal audit annual plan for 2010-2013. It also highlights potential areas of audit focus and secures resources to ensure that requests from the Audit and Evaluation Committee and the executive committee can be ensured timely and efficiently. The plan reconfirms the objective of allocating audit resources to those areas that represent the most significant priorities to OCOL, and to ensure that internal audit services will be of greatest benefit to the organization as a whole.
The approach on which this plan is based is in compliance with the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Professional Practices Framework. The audit plan was developed as follows:
The audit universe defines the potential scope of IA activity and is comprised of individual ďauditable entitiesĒ that may be subjected to IA activity. To ensure alignment between the focus of internal audit and the operational structure of the department, the 23 auditable entities were aligned with the 3 program activities identified in the 2010-2011 Program Activity Architecture (PAA) structure. This table represents OCOLís audit universe.
|Strategic Outcome||Canadians' rights under the Official Languages Act are protected and respected by federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act; and linguistic duality is promoted in Canadian society.|
|Program Activity||1. Protection through Compliance Assurance||2. Promotion through Policy and Communications|
|Auditable Entities||Investigations (3 client portfolios)||Policy and Research|
|Audits (3 client portfolios)||Strategic Communications and Promotion|
|Strategic Performance Measurement |
(3 client portfolios)
|Legal Affairs||Regional Operations|
|Branch Management Support||Branch Management Support|
|Program Activity||3. Internal Services|
|Auditable Entities||Strategic Planning||Human Resources||Finance|
|Information Technology||Information Management||Commissionerís Office|
|Internal Audit and Evaluation||Access to Information and Privacy||Procurement, Acquisition|
Cards and Contracting
|OCOL Travel and Hospitality||Values and Ethics||Branch Management Support|
The project team conducted a series of interviews with Assistant Commissioners and members of the Audit and Evaluation Committee to identify organizational changes, key risks to which operations are exposed, and ultimately areas where internal audit can be of assistance in supporting the achievement of organizational objectives. The project team leveraged information in the Corporate Risk Profile to facilitate the identification of risk areas for audit planning purposes. This risk information not only provided important insight into the concerns of management, but also provided risk exposure information which was used to prioritize auditable entities and identify necessary audit projects.
Each entity that comprises the audit universe was ranked using 2 criteria (risk exposure and importance), each of which is weighted to reflect its relative importance. The following criteria were used, all weighted equally:
- Review of Corporate Risk Profile and Consultations
- Degree and Recentness of Changes
- Complexity / Dependencies / Legislative Requirements
- Materiality (the entityís budget, i.e. Low <$500k; Moderate >$500k but <$1M;
- Sensitivity / Public Profile
- Link to Mandate
Taken together, these criteria were applied to derive a total weighted priority score used to generate a preliminary prioritization of the audit universe. Then, recent audit coverage of the entity was considered before assigning it a requirement for audit rating. The outcome is a preliminary ranked list of audit priorities, details of which can be found in Appendix A.
Finally, the project team developed a three year audit plan. To this end, the highest audit priorities identified serve as the starting point, and provide the main, but not only consideration for project selection. The team examined the top priority entities against a variety of constraints and opportunities, including:
- Availability of audit resources over the 3 year period;
- Feasibility of conducting an audit;
- Conduct of other reviews providing oversight (i.e. Program Evaluations, OAG audits, etc.);
- Mandated audit projects (i.e. follow-ups, OAG/PSC obligations for horizontal audits, etc.);
- Management requests; and
- Audit and Evaluation Committee direction.
New priorities are determined based on these considerations; audits are defined for the top priorities. The outcome is a short-list of audit projects and activities to be conducted during the coming three-year planning horizon.
An analysis of the proposed audit coverage of the organization is conducted in order to ensure an appropriately balanced audit plan. The project team considered the number of corporate risks covered by the plan, the number of priorities covered, and how the allocation of audit resources aligns with the organizationís expenditures.
Details of audits planned are provided including the scope, objectives, key risks, rationale and timing for each engagement and estimates on resourcing levels. Timing of audits planned is provided with the tabling of the multi-year Risk-based Audit.
A budget of approximately $90,000 has been established for the Internal Audit Function for 2010-2011. The estimated breakdown of expenditures for the 2010-2011 Internal Audit budget is as follows:
- Assurance audits – 100%
- Advisory or other projects – 0%
Based on the audit plan developed and described in section 3, no resource limitations have been identified for the delivery of effective internal audit services for the period covered by this plan.