Archived - Government Response to the Twenty-Second Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Management of the Coast Guard Fleet

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Specific responses to your recommendations are provided below.

Recommendation 1:

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans submit a detailed action plan to the Committee in response to the audit reported in Chapter 31 of the December 2000 Report of the Auditor General of Canada. This plan must include references to actions planned or underway to address each recommendation, target implementation and completion dates, and be submitted to the Committee no later than 30 September 2002.

Response:

The Government agrees with the recommendation and will provide the Committee with a copy of the DFO Report, responding to the AG's audit, which includes a detailed Action Plan as requested.

This Action Plan addresses, as outlined in the table below, the issues raised by both the AG and SCOPA and covers, organization and accountability, life-cycle management and Human Resource management. A more national approach for the use, funding and performance of the Fleet is introduced through a more integrated planning, monitoring and reporting process by increasing the involvement of senior DFO management through the creation of a Senior Fleet Committee. An Operations Committee will also address a zonal, as opposed to separate regional approaches to vessel utilization.

The Table below lists the commitments made by DFO regarding the Audit, together with the corresponding outputs.

Commitments made by DFO regarding the Audit, together with the corresponding outputs - Click to enlarge

Recommendation 2:

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans begin to provide Parliament with accurate, reliable information on the plans and priorities of its fleet, and on its performance, in all of its accountability documents beginning with its

Performance report for the period ending 31 March 2002. In particular, performance reports must include a frank discussion of gaps in service that have occurred, why they have occurred, and the actions planned or underway to close them.

Response:

Again the Government agrees with the recommendation but providing this information for years prior to 2002 is problematic as information is limited and incomplete.

The Department will however, provide information highlighting fleet performance starting with the Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for the period ending March 31, 2003. The DPR for the period ending March 31, 2002 has set the stage for this by including a specific section devoted to the Fleet and noting the Department's concurrence with the recommendations of the committee.

Subsequent accountability documents (Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) and DPRs) will also provide information on fleet plans and priorities and performance. Fleet plans and priorities will be highlighted in the Report on Plans and Priorities for 2003-2004. The Departmental Performance Report for the period ending March 31, 2003, will begin to discuss service gaps in two components: first, the gap in program service requiring fleet participation and secondly the gap in service due to fleet capacity.

Recommendation 3:

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans provide, in its performance reports, information on the results achieved by actions taken in response to the observations and recommendations contained in Chapter 31 of the December 2000 Report of the Auditor General of Canada. Provision of this information should be specifically linked to the action plan prepared by the Department and should commence with the performance report for the period ending 31 March 2002.

Response:

The government agrees with the recommendation and work has progressed in addressing all the issues raised. With regards to the results achieved to date DFO has, in the areas of:

1.  Life Cycle Material Management

2.  Multi year Planning Framework

3.  Long Term Capital Plan

4.  Integrated Management Information Framework

5.  Financial Framework

6.  Service Accords

7.  Concept of Operations

8.  Base Fleet

9.  HR

10.  Fleet Management Framework

11.  Operations Control/Accountability Structure

The Departmental Performance Report for the period ending March 31, 2002, contains highlights of the Action Plan and future reports will highlight performance improvements and results achieved in the context of the plan.

With regards to implementation of the full Action Plan, contained in the DFO Report, the Audit & Evaluation Group of DFO has been charged with monitoring adherence to that Plan with respect to both doing what was planned as well as efficiencies gained.

Recommendation 4:

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, in consultation with the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat, conduct a full and rigorous review for the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, of the management model currently used by the Canadian Coast Guard. The review should result in a range of options and have a target completion date of 31 December 2002.

Response:

The Government agrees with the recommendation and indeed, DFO included this review in preparing its response to the AG. Options for the governance of the Fleet that were analyzed included:

Option 1 - Status Quo

Not pursued as an option because:

Option 2 - Departmental Model Enhanced

Option 3 - Centralized Fleet Management, Regional Program delivery

Option 4 - Regional Consolidation of Fleet Operations

Option 5 - National Operations

These Options were reviewed by the Departmental Steering Committee, which included representatives from TBS as well as Transport Canada and industry, who provided comments and additional information. On-going consultations were maintained with the AG throughout the preparation of all aspects of the DFO Report.

The results of this review are outlined in the response to Recommendation 5.

Recommendation 5:

The Committee recommends that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans table the report based on its examination of the management model used by the Canadian Coast Guard, along with an official departmental response that includes an action plan, in the House of Commons no later than 31 March 2003.

Response:

Again the Government agrees with the recommendation and will table the requested information by March 31 2003. The DFO Report and Action Plan mentioned above, which will be made available in 2002, contains the Departmental response and their intended changes to their management model.

Indeed, the Department is already implementing the "enhanced" version (option 2 above) of its present Management Model. It was determined that problems with a further unilateral separation of the Fleet, within the Department's regional structure, would more than offset the benefits of the other Options because of added disruptions in the areas of staffing and client relations, jeopardizing the success of the Initiative.

The "enhanced model" differs from the existing one in the following ways: