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Audit and Evaluation of the Federal Assistance Program (FAP)

Audit

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) internal audit function provides the President, senior officials and agency managers with an independent capability to perform audits of the resources, systems, processes, structures and operational tasks of the CFIA. It helps the CFIA accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to assessing and improving the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.

The internal audit function is accountable to the CFIA’s Audit Committee, of which the President is a member. All internal audit findings and recommendations must be reported to the Audit Committee, and all audits must be carried out in accordance with federal policy and legislative requirements, including the 2009 Policy on Internal Audit and the 2006 Federal Accountability Act.

CFIA internal audit projects are selected based on highest significance during an annual agency planning process, which are then reflected in the Agency’s Audit Plan for review by Audit Committee and approval of the President.

Evaluation

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Evaluation Directorate is responsible for evaluating the relevance and performance of agency programs, policies and initiatives. This effort supports informed decision-making and enhances performance and accountability.

The Evaluation Directorate is accountable to the CFIA’s Evaluation Committee, chaired by the President. All evaluations must be reported to the Evaluation Committee and must be conducted in accordance with the Treasury Board's 2009 Policy on Evaluation. Evaluation projects are selected based on higher risk or significance during an annual Agency planning process, and then reflected in the Agency’s Evaluation Plan, which is approved by the Evaluation Committee.

Overview

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) conducted both an internal audit and an internal evaluation of its Federal Assistance Program (FAP).

The reports found that the FAP is well aligned with the CFIA’s overall mission and, in turn, supports the Government of Canada’s priorities.

It was determined that there is a continued need for the FAP because it is an effective way for the Agency to support organizations that in turn complement the work of the CFIA. The FAP has provided support for a number of highly successful projects that have served to advance the Agency’s objectives as well as leveraging resources and networks that would not otherwise have been accessible to the Agency.

Key Findings

Governance

The audit and the evaluation recommended that the President designate a senior CFIA executive accountable and responsible for the FAP. It was also noted that the FAP could be more transparent both internally and externally.

The audit also identified the need for a program entity for the FAP to provide governance, risk management or control processes for the program.

The CFIA now has such a designated senior executive for the FAP: the Associate Vice-President, Integration and Management Services, Policy and Programs Branch. With this designated senior official in place, direction can be better provided and address the FAP profile both internally and externally.

Funding

The FAP is funded by CFIA internal resources, and individual branch participation in the FAP is based on budget considerations. The Agency’s Corporate Management Branch (formerly Finance, Administration and Information Technology) continues to administer the process.

Funding to manage this program will be provided through an internal branch-to-branch charge (cited as a “tax”) for proposals coming forward from branches.

It is important to note that the FAP is not a standard federally funded contribution program. It is a funding vehicle that provides flexibility to program managers to broaden their reach by supporting collaborative and partner initiatives.

Contribution partners are not solicited in a public venue, but rather are identified by CFIA officials in their dealings with stakeholder groups.

Response

The CFIA continually improves its programs and protocols. Management’s commitment to addressing recommendations made by internal audits and evaluations like these is a critical part of that continual improvement.

The Agency has developed management response action plans to address the opportunities for improvement identified by the audit and the evaluation.

Complete reports: