Archived – Audit of the Aboriginal Inland Habitat (AIH) Program

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Project Number 6B094
Final Audit Report
September 16, 2008

Table of Contents

List of Acronyms

AAROM - Aboriginal Aquatic Resource and Oceans Management
ADM - Assistant Deputy Minister
AED - Audit and Evaluation Directorate
AFN - Assembly of First Nations
AFS - Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy
AIH Program - Aboriginal Inland Habitat Program
APG - Aboriginal Policy and Governance
C&A - Central and Arctic
CS - Corporate Services
CSPS - Canada School of Public Service
DPR - Departmental Performance Reports
FAA - Financial Administration Act
FAM - Fisheries and Aquaculture Management
FY - Fiscal Year
MOU - Memorandum/Memoranda of Understanding
MRI - Marshall Response Initiative
MRS - Management Reporting System
NCR - National Capital Region
NHQ - National Headquarters
PAYE - Payables at Year-End
PTP - Policy on Transfer Payments
RBAF - Risk-Based Audit Framework
RD - Regional Director
RDG - Regional Director General
RMAF - Results-Based Management Accountability Framework
SARA - Species at Risk Act
SLA - Service Level Agreement
TBS - Treasury Board Secretariat

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1.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.1 Introduction

The Aboriginal Inland Habitat Program (AIH Program) is a contribution program (allotment of $9M over 5 years – Fiscal Years (FYs) 2004/05 – 2008/09) whose objective is to enhance the ability of Aboriginal communities, working together, to participate in the decision making processes related to habitat management regulatory and non-regulatory activities.

Aboriginal Contribution Programs are generally managed by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Management (FAM) Sector, but the emphasis of the AIH Program being on fish habitats rather than fisheries; AIH Program is managed by the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector and administered by the Central and Arctic (C&A) Region.  The AIH Program applies to the provinces within the C&A Region and the Western portion of the Province of Quebec.

The program is due for renewal in next fiscal year and the audit of the AIH Program was added to the multi-year Risk-based Audit Plan given that the conduct of an audit engagement was a condition of renewal.

1.2 Objectives and Scope

The audit objectives are to provide assurance that the management control framework (systems, policies, procedures and controls) and management practices for the AIH Program are in place and are appropriate; and to determine the level of compliance with terms and conditions of the contribution program, policies and procedures for controlling transfer payments.

The scope of the audit included the review of all contribution agreements and financial transactions from FY 2004/05 to FY 2007/08, including Species at Risk Agreements processed via the AIH Program.  The audit work involved the participation of the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector; Corporate Services (CS) Sector; FAM Sector; and C&A Region.

1.3 Statement of Assurance

In our judgement, sufficient and appropriate audit procedures have been applied and sufficient evidence gathered to support findings and conclusions contained in this report. The conclusions are based on a comparison of the situation against the audit objectives as they existed at the time of the audit.

1.4 Summary of Observations and Recommendations

Observations and findings made during the conduct of this audit are similar to those made in other audit reports on contribution programs: unclear roles and responsibilities, lack of program guide, Results-Based Management Accountability Framework (RMAF) and Risk-Based Audit Framework (RBAF) not being fully implemented, no audit of recipients performed, lack of monitoring and tracking of recipient activities and lack of supporting documentation for signature approval under Sections 34 and 33 of the Financial Administration Act.  The AIH Program weaknesses related to monitoring, tracking and supporting documentation were more prevalent in FY 2007/08 where most of the financial transactions occurred. The audit did not discover any overpayments or underpayments.  However, in the absence of supporting information related to some financial transactions reviewed, we cannot assert that all payments were made for eligible expenditures.

Recommendations:

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance (APG), C&A and Quebec Regions, should clarify roles and responsibilities of departmental stakeholders, update the RMAF accordingly and develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Regional Director General (RDG), C&A Region. (Medium significance)

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should develop a program guide and communicate the end product to managers and project officers. (Medium significance)

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should update the RBAF, develop an action plan and monitor it to ensure that mitigation measures are implemented. (Medium significance)

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk and the ADM CS, in collaboration with the RDG C&A, should strengthen the control process around contribution programs through the establishment of financial procedures, education and training for project managers and financial officers. (High significance)

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2.0 INTRODUCTION

2.1 Background

The objective of the AIH Program is to enhance the ability of Aboriginal communities, working together, to participate in decision making processes related to habitat management regulatory and non-regulatory activities.  Through the establishment of the AIH Program, DFO assists Aboriginal groups in inland areas to develop the necessary capacity to carry out fish habitat management activities through a collaborative and integrated approach.  Greater coordination with Aboriginal groups in inland areas on habitat matters allows for more effective delivery of DFO’s habitat management responsibilities.  It also helps Aboriginal groups and DFO work more effectively to understand the implications and identify the impacts on Aboriginal communities of projects or proposals that affect fish habitat.

Initially, the program was managed by the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector in the National Capital Region (NCR), but to improve efficiency of the program for Aboriginal groups, its administration and funds were decentralized in the second year of the program to the C&A Region.  The AIH Program applies to the provinces within the C&A Region and the Western portion of the Province of Quebec. It should be noted that the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector still approves all Contribution Agreements. The main complaint from Aboriginal groups was about the “first come first serve” concept used to accept proposals and distribute funds. Aboriginal groups requested that: the administration of the program be decentralized; a more equitable/fair distribution system be developed with their involvement; and an apolitical Aboriginal screening committee be created in each province to review and select proposals to submit to the AIH Program for funding.

The tables below outline the funding that was allotted to and expended by the AIH Program.

AIH Program Planned Expenditures

AIH Expenditures

* There were 2 AIH agreements and 1 Species at Risk Act (SARA) agreement in the Quebec Region.  There were expenditures made under the SARA agreement in Quebec that were coded under the C&A region, but no expenditures under AIH agreements to this date. 

For additional information on the AIH Program, please refer to Appendix A – AIH Program Expected Results and Outcomes.

2.2 Objectives and Scope

2.2.1 Objectives

  • To provide assurance that the management control framework (systems, policies, procedures and controls) and management practices for the AIH Program are in place and are appropriate.
  • To determine the level of compliance with terms and conditions of the contribution program, regulatory policies (e.g. TBS) and procedures for controlling transfer payments.

2.2.2 Scope

The scope of the audit included the review of the management and administration of both the Collaborative Management and Capacity Building components of the AIH Program and all financial transactions from FY 2004/05 to FY 2007/08. We also looked at Species at Risk Contribution Agreements via the AIH Program and the corresponding financial transactions for the same period.
 
The following organizations were involved in the audit work:

  • Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector / Habitat Management Directorate;
  • Corporate Services (CS) / Finance and Administration Directorate;
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture Management (FAM) Sector / Aboriginal Policy and Governance (APG)
  • Central and Arctic Region / Habitat Management Regional Directorate.

2.3 Methodology

The engagement was conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Internal Audit. Initial planning for the audit commenced in March 2008. The conduct phase of the audit commenced in May 2008 and included onsite audit fieldwork in the National Capital and Central & Arctic Regions. The work included interviews with departmental officials responsible for the development and implementation of the Program as well as an examination of Program documentation. Detailed file reviews were conducted to provide assurance related to the processes utilized to certify payments and the compliance with applicable policies and the Program Terms and Conditions.

3.0 OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

To assist management in preparing their management action plan, the audit recommendations are annotated according to the following three action categories based on their significance:

  • High significance – major control weakness and/or an undesirably high level of risk;
  • Medium significance – control weakness affecting operational effectiveness and/or credibility; and
  • Low significance – control or process weakness contributing to inefficiency.

3.1 Objective 1 - Management Control Framework

To provide assurance that the management practices for the AIH Program were in place and were appropriate.

3.1.1 Roles and Responsibilities

Criterion: Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined, communicated, implemented, and followed by staff involved in the program.

[Cabinet confidence]

[Cabinet Confidence]. Instead, a Memorandum was prepared to delegate the authority to approve contribution payments (FAA, section 34) to the C&A Regional Director – Habitat Management and a draft management model was prepared.  

We have looked at the draft management model proposed in January 2005 and determined that it was incomplete. As such, the roles and responsibilities between the C&A Region and the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector remained unclear. Furthermore, we have not seen any documentation demonstrating that the model was officially approved and integrated in an MOU or an SLA between the ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk and the Regional Director General (RDG) C&A Region.

During interviews in the NCR and the C&A Region, with the exception of the Project Manager (filling in as a secondary duty), staff involved in the management of the AIH Program experienced difficulties in expressing their role and responsibilities, and had a tendency to minimize their involvement in the process.

Therefore, there is a heavy reliance on a single individual, the Project Manager, to administer and to manage the program. The Project Manager is responsible for meeting with Aboriginal groups, reviewing proposals, setting up the agreements and following up with Aboriginal groups to ensure that they provide the necessary documentation for payments and for the Departmental Performance Reports (DPR), and finally that the program is producing the expected results.

The lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities creates uncertainty, undermines leadership and the sense of accountability/ownership, weakens relationship building with Aboriginal organizations, and delays decision making. Ultimately, this negatively affects the program results in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.

The audit team believes that the sub-delegation of  signing authority to the C&A RD Habitat Management for the approval of payments, the reallocation of the AIH Program budget to C&A Region and the draft management model developed in 2005, have not removed ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk from the responsibilities indicated above and the accountability for program results.

Recommendation:

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should clarify roles and responsibilities of departmental stakeholders, update the RMAF accordingly and develop an MOU or an SLA with the RDG, C&A Region. (Medium significance)

3.1.2 Policies and Procedures

Criterion: Clear policies, procedures, and/or directives are developed for the management of the program and are communicated to managers and project officers.

Currently, a program guide is not available to provide staff with direction and guidance on all aspects of the AIH Program. During interviews, the Project Manager expressed the need for a manual on policies and procedures relating to the AIH Program.  However, due to a lack of clear roles and responsibilities between Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector and the C&A Region, no manual was developed because there was confusion as to who should have done it.  

If a program guide was developed for the AIH Program, these would help outline senior management’s expectations of how the organization should manage its operations, including the roles and responsibilities of the different sections of the organization.  As well, the creation of such a guide would improve the retention of corporate knowledge and mitigate the impact of high turnover. Furthermore, this would simplify the work of the staff, increase the level of compliance with rules and regulations, reduce uncertainty, prevent overlooking issues, reduce delays and improve program results. 

The AIH Program is a sister program to the Aboriginal Aquatic Resources and Oceans Management (AAROM) Program, which is well established. All the documentation related to the policies and procedures needed to administer AAROM is on the Department’s intranet site. As such, the documentation is readily accessible to all staff. This documentation and methodology could easily be adapted for the AIH Program. The AIH Program staff did not make any collaborative effort to consult with AAROM or to obtain their assistance in establishing policies and procedures for the AIH program.  As well, in comparing AAROM with the AIH Program, there is a notable difference in terms of the tools made available for managers and program officers.

Recommendation:

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should develop a program guide and communicate the end product to managers and project officers. (Medium significance)

3.1.3 Capacity

Criterion: Capacity to deliver the program (funds, staff, and training) is in place.

Funding

In terms of the Operating funds (Salary and O&M), we were informed that the level of funding has been adequate to set-up the program but might be insufficient to address future requirements.  Now that the agreements are in place, additional resources may be required to monitor and evaluate the work accomplished and to provide additional support to the aboriginal groups as they develop their capacity. No audit testing could be performed to validate these assertions.

Training

While the Regional AIH Program staff received generic financial training for the delegation of signing authorities, they were not provided with any specific training related to the management of the AIH Program. Instead, support was provided on an as needed basis by the staff in the Program Planning and Coordination unit of the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector.

It should be noted that the AIH Program staff did not take advantage of all the training opportunities that were available. For example, courses on the management of a contribution program are offered by the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS), as well as by the private sector. Furthermore, in interviews conducted with FAM’s APG Unit, it was revealed that training workshops were also organized to discuss the management of the AAROM and AIH Programs.  In addition, AAROM has established an intranet site containing policy and procedure guides that can be used as reference material in managing the AIH Program.

In our opinion, to develop specific training material, roles and responsibilities must first be clearly defined, and procedures established.
 
Staff

The Project Manager plays a key role in managing the AIH Program as he is responsible for reviewing proposals made by Aboriginal groups and monitoring the progress of all agreements in place. During the conduct of the audit, it was revealed that this key role was vacant for a period of 14 months. It should be noted that although the position was technically vacant, the Project Manager in question continued in this role as a secondary duty but was unable to dedicate the necessary attention to the management of the AIH Program. In June 2008, the position was finally staffed on an assignment basis until the end of the FY 2008/09.

Aside from the Project Manager, other positions relating to the AIH Program were subject to high turnover. Since the program’s inception, the positions of the Director General - Habitat Management have had two persons filling that role, the Regional Director - Habitat Management, and the position of Regional Manager - Habitat Management have had three persons filling those roles, whereas the position of Program Manager in Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk in the NCR has had five persons in that role.  In addition, the support staff processing the financial and administrative paperwork has been subject to similar turnover.

The vacancy and the turnover of staff combined with the lack of a program guide had a negative impact on DFO’s capacity to deliver the program (e.g., lack of monitoring, lack of supporting documents, late payments, lapsing of funds, weakened relationships with Aboriginal groups, and inferior program results).

In conclusion, the program administration has suffered from a lack of capacity to deliver the program due mainly to the absence of a full time project manager for a period of 14 months and of a program guide.  A full time project manager was hired during the conduct of the audit and the development of a program guide is recommended (see section 3.1.2). 

3.1.4 Risk Management

Criterion: Risks are monitored and mitigation actions are taken as required.

The preparation of an RBAF is a TBS requirement specified in its Policy on Transfer Payments (PTP June 2000).

Managers of the program have the primary responsibility for ensuring that the RBAF reflects an accurate and comprehensive analysis of potential risks to the achievement of objectives as well as cost-effective monitoring, mitigation and reporting strategies.

[Cabinet Confidence]

The absence of a full dedicated regional Project Manager to administer the AIH Program had not been foreseen and regional management was not proactive in finding a replacement.  After being vacant for 14 months, a new full-time Project Manager was finally assigned during the conduct of the audit.  To prevent reoccurrence of the situation and to add flexibility, C&A regional management may consider developing contingency plans.

However, while risk assessments were not performed periodically, it should be mentioned that, in the first year of the program, management properly reacted to concerns expressed by Aboriginal groups by organizing consultations with them and making necessary changes to the delivery of the program and the distribution of funds.

[Cabinet Confidence].  Instead, to mitigate the risk, audited final reports were requested as a compensatory measure. Not having  audits of recipients executed is unfortunate because it would provide assurance that the recipients are complying with the Terms and Conditions of agreements, funds are being used for the intended purposes while also providing the essential information for the development of the RBAF, policies and procedures and the determination of coaching needs of the recipients.

Recommendation:

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should update the RBAF, develop an action plan and monitor it to ensure that mitigation measures are implemented. (Medium significance)

3.1.5 Management Reporting Systems

Criterion: Management reporting systems are in place to provide management with timely, accurate and useful information for decision making.

[Cabinet Confidence]

3.2 Objective 2 – Compliance with Policies and Procedures for Controlling Contribution Payments

To determine the level of compliance with Terms and Conditions of the contribution program, regulatory practices (e.g. TBS) and procedures for controlling transfer payments.

3.2.1 Contribution Agreements

Criterion: Contribution agreements are in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the contribution program.

The Treasury Board approved Terms and Conditions of the AIH program, were accurately reflected in the contribution agreements. 

3.2.2 Administration of Transfer Payments

Criterion: The program is administered in accordance with the TBS Policy on Transfer Payments (PTP). In particular:

  • Advance payments should be limited to the immediate cash requirements of the recipient and not exceed the payment thresholds and frequency described in the TBS Policy;
  • Final payment (ref. holding % to prevent overpayments) should be made following final accounting of the contribution by the recipient;
  • Recoveries of overpayments should be made in accordance with the FAA;
  • Audits of recipients should be made in accordance with RBAF presented with the TBS Submission for the program; and
  • Transfer of funds from one Departmental Program to another Departmental Program should be appropriately authorized.

Advance Payments

The TBS Policy on Transfer Payments specifies that an advance payment should be made only when required and, to minimize the risk of overpayment, the amount should be limited to immediate needs. The allocation of advance payments should also be justified in the project/recipient file and be subject to supervisory review.

There were four (4) initial advance payments issued out of the eighteen (18) agreements. Three (3) were made in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of the contribution agreements (i.e., cash flow provided) while one (1) was not, as it lacked the necessary supporting documentation.  In this last case, despite the lack of a cash flow statement, an initial advance payment was issued.

It should be noted that when reviewing files for initial advance payments, the auditors could not ascertain that the Project Manager had properly reviewed the cash flows and compared these with the negotiated/approved proposal to validate the correlation between the two.

Final Payments

The withholding of final payments (10% of the amount/agreement) was done in accordance with Terms and Conditions and withholdings were released once final reports were received, reviewed by the Project Manager and Finance, and judged satisfactory. For agreements above $250K, see section on audit of recipients below.

Recoveries of Overpayments

Our review did not identify any overpayments.

Audits of Recipients

[Cabinet Confidence], there were no audit of recipients performed and none are planned for agreements above $250K. From FY 2004/05 to FY 2007/08, 5 agreements above $250K were approved and should have led to audits of recipients.  Actual expenditures totalling $ 1,756,704 were recorded for these agreements which represent 58.3 % of the total program expenditures for that period. Instead, as a compensatory measure, relevant recipients (Agreements above $250K) were asked to provide audited final reports. In these instances, the Department is relying on the external auditor’s opinions on financial statements and/or the statement of disposition of federal contribution funds.

Transfer of Funds between Programs

There was a transfer of funds ($1.1M) from the AIH Program toward the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy (AFS) Program.  The reimbursement of these funds to the AIH Program has been divided in two instalments (FYs 2007-08 and 2008-09). The transfer had been approved by both the C&A Region and the Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk Sector.

[Cabinet Confidence]

3.2.3 Approval of Payments

Criterion: Payments are verified and approved in accordance with sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Financial Administration Act and the Terms and Conditions of the contribution program.

In general, financial authority is properly exercised with respect to FAA section 32. Expenditures are committed and certified pursuant to FAA sections 32.

However, the conduct of the audit revealed situations which contravened with FAA sections 34 and 33. We observed:

Section 34

  • A lack of consistency in reviewing documents prior to section 34 certification and approval.
  • An ineffective segregation of duties.
  • A lack of supporting documentation.

Section 33

  • An inconsistency in the Payables at Year-End.
  • An inconsistency in the Sampling Methodology.

Section 34

Lack of Consistency in Reviewing Documents

From 2005 to 2007, the C&A Financial Advisor reviewed and occasionally challenged the supporting documents issued by the Project Manager to ensure that files contained all required documentation prior to its submission for an approval under section 34. Controls were later relaxed as the succeeding C&A Financial Advisor performed no such review.

Ineffective Segregation of Duties

In order to prevent the risk of abuse or fraud, it is common practice to segregate duties. During the course of our audit, we noted that the segregation of duties was deficient. There is a heavy reliance on the Project Manager as he puts agreements in place, reviews requests for payments and ultimately recommends approval of section 34 to the Regional Director (RD). In turn, the RD does not perform, in our opinion, a sufficient review prior to signing for section 34.

The TBS Guide on Grants, Contributions and other transfer payments indicates the following: “In the case of contributions, the authorizing officer must be satisfied that the reimbursement claimed by the recipient is based on eligible expenditures or costs actually incurred within the terms and conditions of a valid agreement.  To directly obtain such assurances, the officer should review the supporting evidence for the claim. ( There is nothing in the transfer policy that prevents a project officer from requesting documentary evidence to support a claim, such as receipts, payrolls and cheques processed by the bank.) To indirectly obtain the assurance related to section 34, periodic monitoring visits or a financial post audit should be conducted.”
 
Lack of Supporting Documentation

As per the Terms and Conditions of the agreement, a cash flow statement is required for the issuance of an initial advance payment. During the conduct of the audit, we found an instance where an initial advance payment was approved without the required supporting documentation.

In terms of subsequent payments, six of the sixteen subsequent payments examined through our audit did not include the necessary supporting documentation, such as a cash flow statement and a work in progress report.

In the absence of supporting information related to some of the financial transactions reviewed, we cannot assert that all payments were made based on eligible expenditures.

Section 33

In reviewing the financial environmental controls, we compared how Section 33 was processed by Finance in the NCR and the C&A Region. It revealed that the process used in these two regions differs in two aspects: the supporting documentation required for Payables at Year End (PAYE) and the sampling methodology.

Inconsistency in the PAYE

In the NCR, a PAYE form certified under section 34, along with a copy of the agreement (if amended or extended) and any final report are required for the processing of the PAYE. In C&A, the PAYE form certified under section 34 is sufficient for the processing of the PAYE.

Inconsistency in the Sampling Methodology

As per the TBS Policy on Account Verification, the financial quality assurance review of the adequacy of the section 34 account verification should be performed through the statistical sampling of transactions by the financial officers exercising payment authority under section 33. Within DFO, the sampling technique is chosen by each Region according to the identified risk level of the transaction. In the NCR, contribution payments are considered to be a high risk transaction and as such, all contribution transactions are subject to review prior to its payment being processed. However, in the C&A Region, no distinction is made between the various types of transaction payments (contributions, travel, hospitality, etc.) nor their amounts, and only one (1) in ten (10) transactions are subject to review prior to its payment being processed.

In conclusion, we are concerned with the lack of consistency over the risk assessment and procedures in place to process payments related to contribution programs.  It should be noted there have been recommendations made on previous audits (e.g. Aboriginal  Fisheries Strategy, Marshall Response Initiative) for Finance to develop procedures and training specific to the processing of contribution payments.   

Recommendation:

ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk and the ADM CS, in collaboration with the RDG C&A, should strengthen the control process around contribution programs through the establishment of financial procedures, education and training for project managers and financial officers. (High significance)

4.0 GENERAL CONCLUSION

Observations and findings made during the conduct of this audit are similar to those made in other audit reports on contribution programs: unclear roles and responsibilities, lack of program guide, RMAF and RBAF not being fully implemented, no audit of recipients performed, lack of monitoring and tracking of recipient activities and lack of supporting documentation for signature approval under Sections 34 and 33 of the Financial Administration Act.  The AIH Program weaknesses related to monitoring, tracking and supporting documentation were more prevalent in FY 2007/08 where most of the financial transactions occurred. The audit did not discover any overpayments or underpayments.  However, in the absence of supporting information related to some financial transactions reviewed, we cannot assert that all payments were made for eligible expenditures.

5.0 Management Action Plan

Recommendations

Management
Action Plan

Status Report Update

Actions Completed

Actions Outstanding

Target Date

1.  ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should clarify roles and responsibilities of departmental stakeholders, update the RMAF accordingly and develop an MOU or an SLA with the RDG, C&A Region. (Medium significance)

a) DG, Habitat Management Directorate to complete a Terms of Reference and Governance Structure.

Terms of Reference and Governance Structure drafted by the AIH Program Steering Committee – August 6, 2008.

Finalize and approve by the AIH Program Steering Committee.

Terms of Reference (including process, roles and responsibilities) and Governance Structure to be finalized and approved by the AIH Program Steering Committee, and approved by ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk and RDG C&A in 3rd quarter of FY 08-09

Initial:

  • Sept 08

 

  • Dec 08

 

Revised:

[Cabinet Confidence]   [Cabinet Confidence] [Cabinet Confidence]

c) DG, Habitat Management Directorate to develop language for inclusion in the  SLA with the C&A Region to clarify management roles and responsibilities of ADM Oceans, Habitat & Species at Risk and of RDG C&A.

 

Develop draft language for inclusion into SLA.

Obtain ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk and RDG C&A approval.

SLAs will be signed 4th Quarter FY 08-09.

Initial:

  • Sept 08 (draft)
  • Dec 08 (final)

Revised:

4th Quarter FY 08-09

2. ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk should, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should develop a program guide and communicate the end product to managers and project officers. (Medium significance)

a) DG, Habitat Management Directorate to develop a formal program guide and to post it on DFO’s internal website for training and reference purposes.

Aboriginal Policy and Governance shared AAROM guidance material with DG, Habitat Management Directorate – August 5, 2008.

Develop formal program guidance material and post it on DFO’s internal website.
This will include the development of financial procedures for project managers in cooperation with Corporate Services and C&A Region, as outlined in recommendation 4a).

To be lead by C&A Region with support from NCR and approved by the AIH Program Steering Committee.

Initial:

  • Oct 08

Revised:

Finalize in 4th Quarter FY 08-09.

3. ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk, in consultation with Finance, Aboriginal Policy and Governance, C&A and Quebec Regions, should update the RBAF, develop an action plan and monitor it to ensure that mitigation measures are implemented. (Medium significance)

[Cabinet Confidence]

 

[Cabinet Confidence]
The RBAF will be subject to the new TB Policy on Transfer Payments.  Finance will follow up on the requirements.  NCR and C&A staff will review and edit the RBAF and provide it to the Steering Committee for approval.

[Cabinet Confidence]

b) DG, Habitat Management Directorate to develop an action plan to ensure RBAF mitigation measures are implemented.

Mitigation actions implemented in the C&A Region.

C&A Region has implemented audits of contributions over 250K, monitoring of recipient activities, invoices and deliverables.

Report on implementation of the action plan.

 

C&A Region will report on the implementation of these actions to the Steering Committee.

Initial:

  • Oct 08      (draft)
  • Nov 08       (final)
  • Nov 09 and yearly.

Revised:

3rd Quarter FY 08-09 and yearly.

4. ADM Oceans, Habitat and Species at Risk and the ADM CS, in collaboration with the RDG C&A, should strengthen the control process around contribution programs through the establishment of financial procedures, education and training for project managers and financial officers. (High significance)

a) ADM Oceans, Habitat & Species at Risk to establish financial procedures for project managers that strengthen and maintain the control process around the AIH Program.

Interim financial procedures established in cooperation with C&A Region to address audit issues – August 2008.

AIHP Program Manager completed G&C training in September 2008.

C&A Region Joint Partnering Agreement Committee now reviews all G&C Agreements.

C&A Region Finance reviews all AIHP proposals.

C&A Region Finance now reviews and approves all AIHP payments.

Develop financial procedures for project managers in cooperation with Corporate Services and C&A Region.
This will be incorporated into the program guide described in recommendation 2a).

Corporate Services: a program manual to be developed by AIHP Program Manager with input from Finance to address financial procedures, and incorporated into program guide.

Initial:

  • Oct 08

Revised:
Finalize in 4th Quarter FY 08-09.

b) ADM CS to provide training and communication materials on the new TB Policy on Transfer Payments (effective Oct 1, 2008 with gradual implementation) to financial officers and project managers.

 

Canada School of Public Service rolled out new training courses, and the department will prioritize training of key staff.

Corporate Services: Will provide training and communication materials on the new TB Policy on Transfer Payments (effective 1 Oct 08 with gradual implementation) to financial officers and project managers.  It is expected that training will be available from Central Agencies for Financial Officers the first round, with subsequent training sessions for program managers.

Initial:

  • Mar 09

Revised:

FY 09-10

c) ADM CS is currently revising the Account Verification management control framework, policy, procedures and quality assurance processes.
This will include improving the policies, tools and procedures for verifying that only properly delegated employees approve documents.

  Corporate Services: With respect to the strengthening of control processes, the ADM CS is currently revising the Account Verification management control framework, policy, procedures and quality assurance processes.  This will include improving the policies, tools and procedures for verifying that only properly delegated employees approve documents.

Initial:

  • Mar 09

Revised:

FY 09-10

Appendix A: AIH Program Expected Results and Outcomes

The AIH Program has two components – Collaborative Management and Capacity Building.  Expected results by program component include:

 Collaborative Management

  •  Multi-year AIH contribution agreements negotiated with terms and conditions for Aboriginal groups & DFO;
  • Core scientific and technical capacity established within Aboriginal organizations;
  • Employment and mentoring opportunities for Aboriginal members including youth;
  • Development and implementation of habitat management and protection plans;
  • New models, structures and processes developed and established by Aboriginal groups;
  • Views of Aboriginal groups (including Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge) factored into DFO habitat management regulatory reviews and processes;
  • Feedback/advice received from Aboriginal groups on various policy matters related to habitat management.

Capacity Building

  • AIH Bridge Capacity Building contribution agreements negotiated with terms and conditions for Aboriginal groups & DFO;
  • Multiple communities forming aggregations on broad ecosystem levels;
  • Access to professional, administrative and technical expertise by Aboriginal groups enabled;
  • Strategic and community-based planning exercises conducted;
  • Capacity assessment/feasibility studies designed and conducted;
  • Sound business practices and reporting procedures established;
  • Administrative, financial and legal preparations completed for establishment of an aggregate body.

Expected outcomes of the AIH Program by component include:

Collaborative Management

  • Increased skills and capacity (professional, administrative and technical) of members of Aboriginal groups;
  • Increased employment and mentoring opportunities for Aboriginal members including youth;
  • Increased and more effective participation of Aboriginal groups in DFO and various multi-stakeholder habitat management structures and processes;
  • Increased level of partnering and leveraging of resources;
  • Increased share of contracting opportunities awarded to Aboriginal groups through the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business (PSAB) and the normal tendering process;
  • Increased awareness of Aboriginal issues and capacities among DFO, stakeholders and partner organizations.

Capacity Building

  • Increased collaboration among multiple communities on a broad ecosystem level;
  • Enhanced professional, administrative, technical capacity of Aboriginal groups;
  • Habitat management structures operate at arms’ length from day to day political influence;
  • Increased accountability and more open and transparent reporting to DFO and member-communities;
  • Increased preparedness and ability to engage in AIH Collaborative Management programming.

At the same time, the Program is expected to contribute to the broader government objective of improving the socio-economic well-being and self-sufficiency of Aboriginal peoples.