Financial Assessment of the Prairies and Northern Territories Region

October 2006


Executive Summary

1. Budgeting and Reporting

2. Transfer Payments

3. Operating

4. Revenues

5. Assets

Appendix A: Team Members

Appendix B: Action Plan


Executive Summary

The financial assessment of the Prairies and Northern Territories Region was undertaken by the Finance Branch at national headquarters (NHQ) during the period January through March 2006 as part of its ongoing monitoring of regional operations. The assessment covers all major aspects related to finance, including planning, reporting, accounting for revenues and expenditures, procurement and the management of fixed assets.

The Region is one of six CIC administrative regions, the others being Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Yukon, and the International Region. Administratively, the Region covers three Western provinces—Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta—and the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The Region has five offices. In Winnipeg, it manages the regional headquarters (RHQ) independently from CIC-Winnipeg. Offices are also located in Saskatoon (providing financial support to Regina), Edmonton (providing financial support to Yellowknife) and Calgary (providing financial support to Lethbridge). Furthermore, the Region is the only domestic region that still manages its financial affairs on a decentralized model whereby the local offices are responsible for program delivery as well as corporate services, including planning, forecasting, reporting and accounting. [Regional comment: While financial transactions have not been centralized, planning, forecasting and reporting have been.]

SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY

The team (see appendix for list of members) reviewed documentation and reports, interviewed employees and reviewed a sample of files and transactions for the period April 2005 to March 2006. Transactions were selected by various methods, such as sampling the financial database, selecting high-value payments, selecting high-risk transactions and selecting certain current-year transactions that were deemed relevant for this exercise.

The assessment examined the adequacy and effectiveness of the Region’s system of internal controls and the quality of performance in carrying out assigned financial responsibilities.

  • Compliance with policies, procedures and regulations: assessing the systems established to ensure compliance with those policies, procedures and regulations that have a significant impact on operations and reports, and determining whether the office is in compliance.
  • Reliability and integrity of information: assessing the reliability and integrity of financial information and the means used to identify, measure, classify and report such information.
  • Adequacy of operational controls and the safeguarding of assets: assessing controls and related risks and the means of safeguarding assets and, as appropriate, verify the existence of such assets.

Although some of the techniques used for this assessment are similar to that of auditing, the review of the Region’s internal controls is not an audit. During the assessment period, the team visited the following offices: RHQ, CIC-Winnipeg, CIC-Edmonton and CIC-Calgary. The Saskatchewan offices could not be included in the itinerary because of logistical issues. Staff were very cooperative at all locations, allowing team members full access to the required documentation. The documentation used for this review was extracted from 2005–2006 existing files.

The regional financial organization is composed of the following resources:

  • Director, Finance and Administration (F&A)
  • Three financial officers
  • Two finance clerks

Local offices are supported by a Chief of Administrative Services (CAS) and a complement of clerical staff responsible for a range of financial, material management and registry functions.

KEY FINDINGS

There is a need for the Regional Director General (RDG) to ensure that the financial organization works as a team, that it shares the same vision and that staff are provided with the adequate tools and training to perform to the expected departmental levels. It is acknowledged that training requires money and unfortunately, the Region does not have enough resources to complete all the desirable training. However, in-house training on SAP and SMS (Salary Management System) has been provided. The Director, F&A, also provided delegation of authorities training to managers and CAS’s.

Recommendations

It is recommended that the RDG:

  • implement the recommendations contained in this report; [Many recommendations are already being implemented.] and
  • provide managers with the tools and training to manage their programs effectively. [Agreed]

It is further recommended that the Director, F&A:

  • undertake, at a minimum, a yearly visit to all local offices; and
  • invite all CAS’s to a regional conference at least once a year.

[The last CAS conference was in January 2004. They occur approximately every two years. Again, due to budget constraints, annual conferences and frequent local office visits have not been possible.]

The number of deficiencies noted in the report point to the completeness of the assessment exercise. The results of this exercise are, however, somewhat at odds with the recent self-assessment administered by the Internal Audit and Accountability Branch. It is the opinion of the Accounting Operations Division that self-assessment is not an adequate tool for a certification of the strength of any accounting operations that must perform with a high level of integrity and compliance. However, it is acknowledged that this region has had Consulting and Audit Canada do reviews up to 2004 that concluded that the quality of the account verification work being performed at this office was excellent.

1. Budgeting and Reporting

In this section, the team assessed the following subjects:

  • budget input and allocation;
  • forecast;
  • reporting; and
  • information and advice.

Interviews were conducted with the following staff:

Regional Headquarters

  • Regional Director General
  • Director, Finance and Administration
  • Regional Manager, Administrative Services
  • Regional Manager, Human Resources
  • Financial Analyst, Settlement Services
  • One finance assistant

CIC-Winnipeg

  • Area Director, CIC Manitoba/Nunavut
  • Chief, Administrative Services

CIC-Edmonton

  • Area Director, CIC Northern Alberta/N.W.T.
  • Acting Chief, Administrative Services
  • Acting Supervisor, Settlement
  • One finance assistant

CIC-Calgary

  • Area Director, CIC Southern Alberta
  • Acting Chief, Administrative Services
  • Supervisor, PRRA (pre-removal risk assessment), also Acting Supervisor, Settlement
  • One finance assistant

In addition, a financial management accountability questionnaire for managers was distributed.

1.1  Budget input and allocation

Budgets are decentralized in the Prairies and Northern Territories Region. They are allocated to the various managers at RHQ and the area directors of the Manitoba/Nunavut, Northern Alberta/N.W.T., Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan management areas.

1.1.1  Operating budget

The regional planning process can vary. Some years, RHQ will ask for submissions and input from the area directors, and other years, they are briefed on the global financial situation and not asked to take the time and effort to prepare a submission when it is known that no funds are available. Budgets have been largely static over the past few years, and keeping within budget has been the focus. The draft business plan is prepared by the Region’s lead planner in collaboration with the Corporate Planning Branch at NHQ. The Director, F&A, will prepare a costing of allocated positions and will propose budget allocations. The Regional Management Committee (RMC) has a half-day or day-long planning session to discuss the draft business plan and budget. However, the RDG has final approval.

When new funding is available, the Regional Director, Programs, is responsible for analysing the requirements by office and making recommendations to the RDG for its allocation, since he has functional program direction over area directors.

Given that there is no flexibility in the non-salary budget, the area directors do not engage in a planning exercise for the allocation of their own budgets. It is their opinion that there are only sufficient funds to cover the basic operational needs. Non-salary funds are fully committed at the beginning of the year and are less than the $3000 per FTE departmental standard due to the relative underfunding of the Region’s non-salary budget.

The salary funding allocated to the managers and area directors is only sufficient to cover about 97% of their salary requirements. However, given the movement of staff, they are able to function within the allocated budget. Any surplus in salary could be used to cover shortfalls in non-salary.

The financial portrait for the Region for fiscal year 2005–2006 is as follows.

  Budget Actual Variance %
Salary (0100) $8,422,164 $8,362,646 $59,518  
Operating (0140)
  Travel   $557,528   39.6
  Telephone, fax   $144,278   10.3
  Forms   $28,193   2.0
  Supplies   $87,686   6.2
  All other   $588,607   41.9
Subtotal $1,542,513 $1,406,292 $136,221 100.0
Total $9,964,677 $9,768,938 $195,739  

Note: The non-salary slippage in 2005–2006 is higher than in previous years because funds were made available by NHQ late in the fiscal year.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, do an A-base review of all costs (salary and non-salary) to determine whether or not the Region has sufficient operating funds to operate; and  
  • the RDG review the spending pattern of the Region and determine if there are ways to reduce costs and still provide incremental flexibility.

[The Region completed an A-base review in 2004. Many specific items were analysed and cost-reducing options implemented. It was determined that the major expense was travel, and as this is the largest region in the country, geographically, with the highest proportion of staff located outside the RHQ city, travel expenses will inevitably be high. Comparative analysis reports are provided to all managers at least once a year. Furthermore, the Prairies and Northern Territories Region has the lowest non-salary budget on a  per FTE basis. Based on June 2006 budgets: Atlantic $12,547 per FTE; Quebec $9,539 per FTE; Ontario $9,004 per FTE; Prairies/Northern Territories $6,851 per FTE; and British Columbia/Yukon $9,230 per FTE.]

1.1.2  Contribution funding

The amount of settlement funding to be distributed to each province is determined by NHQ and communicated by the regional office, usually in January. Once the amount that is going to each office is determined, the settlement officers make recommendations as to how to use the funding (distribution between LINC, ISAP and HOST). Calls for proposals (a letter with application package) are sent to current service providers in November. At the Calgary office, many agreements are multi-year, thus reducing the need to sign agreements every year.

The budget for the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) is usually provided in March and its allocations are based on planned referrals to cities.

1.2  Forecasts

1.2.1  Operating funds

Forecasts are prepared according to the schedule provided by RHQ. Area directors and managers at RHQ are responsible for their own forecast. The forecasts are sent to RHQ where they are reviewed, analysed and collated.

Reports from the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS) and SMS are used as the basis for the forecasts. However, separate spreadsheets are also used by some managers to keep track of the movement of staff, planned staffing and other items that have not yet been recorded in SMS. This is usually in cases where the CAS has not been informed of staffing changes and therefore, SMS may not be up to date.

The Director, F&A, is responsible for reviewing the forecasts and providing advice to the RDG. According to the Director, F&A, managers wonder about the usefulness of preparing forecasts since they are of the opinion that their operating budgets are insufficient.

1.2.2  Contribution funding

The Financial Analyst, Settlement Services, prepares the forecasts and works with the settlement officers in the field. The CAS’s in the Edmonton and Calgary offices reported that they were not very involved in the preparation of the forecasts for settlement and RAP. Their role is limited to providing IFMS reports to settlement officers, inputting information in the forecasting template, and sending this information to RHQ-Finance. It should be noted, however, that these are not indeterminate people. The CAS positions have not been filled permanently.

While some training has been provided on RAP forecasting and monitoring and on how to read IFMS reports to regional area officers and the CAS, the CAS at CIC-Edmonton is not sure how to prepare RAP forecasts. However, given that there has been a high turnover of staff in various offices, training is required on a constant basis.  A financial assistant, who was an acting CAS at the Calgary office from June to September 2005, said that the Financial Officer, Settlement Unit, did forecasting with the settlement officers and circumvented the CAS.

The reader is referred to section 2 of this report for further information on problems in managing contribution agreements.

Winnipeg and Edmonton always spend more than their RAP budget and the budget is not reviewed on a monthly basis. This issue has been raised many times by the Financial Analyst, Settlement Services, and has seen some improvements. However, the Financial Analyst cannot review every commitment herself to know exactly which ones should be reduced. It should be noted, however, that the Senior Planning, Reporting and Integrity Officer does in fact review each and every commitment on the operational side.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, develop an integrated approach to forecasting for contributions;
  • the Director, F&A, develop a training program for CAS’s, senior settlement officers and area directors to ensure consistency and adequacy in the forecast exercise; and
  • the area directors work closely with the CAS’s in developing forecasts, especially for contribution programs, and that they make use of their financial expertise.

[Though the Region fully supports these recommendations, it is necessary to acknowledge the financial and resource implications of the training recommendation.]

1.3  Reporting

IFMS and SMS reports are used on a regular basis by managers, administrative staff, CAS’s, settlement officers and financial analysts for the preparation of the forecasts. In general, managers at RHQ and area directors find the IFMS reports hard to understand. There are, however, managers who do not pay much attention to their forecasts.

PeopleSoft is mostly used to approve leave, input overtime and review leave balances. PeopleSoft reports are provided to managers at RHQ once a year for review. At CIC-Calgary, the CAS uses the PeopleSoft reports to review upcoming payouts for overtime or leave.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, develop and provide training, at all levels of the organization, on reporting and the use of tools such as SMS and IFMS in accordance with their needs and those of the organization.

[Formal training has previously been given to all managers on SMS and IFMS and on Account Verification-Delegation of Financial Authorities (except for the Area Director at the Northern Alberta/N.W.T. office). Currently we are giving refresher training, starting with managers at RHQ. Formal training was also given to the CAS’s at the Manitoba/Nunavut and Saskatoon offices. The Chief, Accounting Operations, Policy and Systems, went to the Southern Alberta office to provide one-on-one training with the temporary CAS. A great deal of time was given by finance officers to provide informal training and assistance. When the two new CAS’s are hired permanently, formal training will be provided.]

1.4  Information and advice

In general, area directors, CAS’s and managers at RHQ are satisfied with the financial advice and help provided by the finance staff at RHQ. The area directors’ financial contact at RHQ is the Director, F&A, and the CAS’s financial contacts are the junior financial officers at RHQ. The Financial Analyst, Settlement Unit, receives advice from the Regional Director, Programs, from program officers and from NHQ financial planning and reporting officers.

Some employees who were acting in the director or CAS positions over the past year felt that the financial training was insufficient. However, they believed they were provided with adequate financial advice when they contacted the RHQ finance staff. It is acknowledged that inadequate resources do not give the latitude to provide training to everyone who acts. Moreover, if the Region were not so geographically dispersed, this would not be a problem. If all major operations were located in one city (as in the Quebec Region or the British Columbia/Yukon Region) this would be feasible.

While it seems that efforts were made to provide more training to settlement officers on the financial monitoring of settlement files, there seems to be no training available for directors, managers and CAS’s on financial management and what is expected from RHQ Finance. Again, it is acknowledged that formal classroom training requires additional financial resources and that informal training has been provided in several areas.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, develop and implement a training plan for the Region. This plan must include the requirement for all staff to take training, whether or not they are in a permanent position.

2. Transfer Payments

In the Prairies and Northern Territories Region, programs are delivered under different strategies:

  • in Manitoba, the settlement programs are delivered under one funding arrangement with the province of Manitoba;
  • the RAP is delivered through the local offices either directly to clients (income support) or through service providers in all three provinces and the Northwest Territories;
  • the traditional settlement programs (LINC, HOST and ISAP) in Saskatchewan and Alberta are delivered through contribution agreements with service providers; and
  • in Alberta, ISAP programs are co-managed with the Government of Alberta.

The Region monitors contributions through the use of external auditors and one officer is dedicated to on-site monitoring of the agreements as well as internal planning and  forecasting of program expenditures. Since the purpose of the assessment was not to determine the adequacy of this strategy, no in-depth analysis was performed on this function. Instead, the team concentrated its efforts on the management of the financial contribution programs. However, we had access to files in this regard and at first glance, it appears that the on-site monitoring activities were well prepared and well conducted.

In many instances, a recipient may receive funding under multiple agreements. When such a situation occurs, costs for overhead are allowed under separate agreements, but there is neither an indication that care was taken to ensure that there is no duplication of funding, nor that there is enough clarification built into the agreement to determine how the actual costs are to be computed.

2.1  Canada-Manitoba Agreement

This agreement is an ongoing agreement that remains in force unless one of the parties seeks to terminate it by providing sufficient notice to the other party. It requires annual consultation on levels sought by the province and advance annual notice of available funding levels from CIC. The province provides a quarterly cash flow forecast and payments are made in accordance with this schedule. The request for payment is approved under section 34 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA) by the Director, F&A. The Director, F&A, having responsibility for the financial management of the Region and for ensuring that the provision of the agreements (all agreements, not only the Canada-Manitoba Agreement) are met, should not be signing the request for payment.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the request for payment under section 34 of the FAA be made by a senior program manager such as the Regional Director, Programs. [This is now in place.]

2.2  Resettlement Assistance Program

2.2.1  Income support

Once in Canada, RAP clients may meet with an immigration officer as required until they are settled. During this period, the Immigration Officer discusses the client’s needs and provides funding using departmental bank accounts (DBAs). Once the client is settled, the Immigration Officer puts him on recurring payments for a period of up to one year (from date of arrival). In the case of special needs, a client can request an interview with the Immigration Officer, who would determine if further funding is required.

In Winnipeg, client files that were reviewed indicate that all requests for payments have been duly approved by a delegated immigration officer. When DBAs are used, they are input in IFMS in a timely manner.

Similar observations have been made for the Edmonton office.

In Calgary, 16 files were selected at random from a potential universe of 393 clients who received funding during the period April to December 2005.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the Calgary office discontinue its practice of pre-approving the total amount of the income support; [Agreed. The Director, F&A, is currently working with the Area Director for CIC Southern Alberta on this issue.]
  • the Calgary office implement an authorization process similar to that used in Winnipeg; [Agreed. The Director, F&A, is currently working with the Area Director for CIC Southern Alberta on this issue.]
  • the Director, F&A, provide direction to all local offices on delegation of authority to all managers; [This has already been provided to managers. Refresher training under review.] and
  • the Director, F&A, institute a formal monitoring process to ensure compliance with the FAA as well as compliance with issues related to the program terms and conditions.

2.2.2  Purchase of basic furniture

When a client moves from a reception centre to an apartment on his or her own, RAP provides for the payment of essential furniture. The furniture is purchased from local suppliers through a contribution agreement. The CIC-Winnipeg office ensures that the furniture supplier has responded to the client’s needs.

The terms and conditions of the RAP designate as a class of recipients other than refugees, “… service providers […] primarily used in the operation of reception facilities that attend to the immediate and essential needs of the refugees …” Agreements signed with furniture stores do not conform to the program terms and conditions. This situation is not specific to the Prairie Region but is pervasive in all regions (except Quebec, where the program is administered under the Canada-Quebec Accord). Although the cost associated with the payment to a furniture store could be journal vouchered to a client’s account, this would create a heavy administrative burden with no apparent benefit, except that it would conform to the program terms and conditions.

Agreements with Service Provider Organizations

Overall, two major RAP agreements were looked at: the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (Winnipeg) and the Catholic Social Services of Edmonton.

Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council  

The Region had two agreements with the Catholic Social Services (CSS) of Edmonton (1) RAP-Essential Services, and (2) RAP-Reception House. There appears to be a duplication of responsibility under the RAP-Essential Services and RAP-Reception House agreements as both agreements:

  • require that newcomers be provided with orientation; and
  • provide for the reimbursement of the “building lease,” but there is no indication of how the costs should be apportioned between the two agreements, nor are there any definitions to guide the allocation of such costs and other related overhead costs.

a)  RAP-Reception House

The agreement provides for a series of activities to be undertaken and a reporting section. However, the reporting section does not include all the requirements described in the activity section. For example:

  • the meals served (paragraph 2 under Activities); and,
  • for food and incidental allowances paid, the financial report provides the total amount disbursed but there is no indication of the number of clients who were provided with allowances.

The CSS does not provide regular detailed reports to support the request for payment. For example, the CSS provided the amount of the allowances for June 2005 but did not provide this information for April and May. Thus, CIC could not justify the amount of $ requested for incidental and food allowances. The CSS reported the amount of paid allowances for the month of July but has not provided further information since. Yet CIC-Edmonton reimbursed CSS $ for the period July to September. The file did not contain any additional information.

b)  RAP-Essential Services

The time lag between receipt of the invoice and the payment is somewhat long. For example, the invoice for the first quarter was dated August 19 and the claim was approved (section 34 FAA) on August 25, but the invoice for the second quarter, dated November 25, was only approved on January 30.

No specific comments to be provided.

c)  RAP-Start-Up Costs

All payments entered by client and verified.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that:

  • the contribution agreements spell out clearly what the reporting schedule and format should be; [Agreed. NHQ lead]
  • the local offices, in consultation with the RHQ Manager of Finance and Administration, ensure that the recipients conform themselves to the requirements of the agreement; [Agreed] and
  • the reimbursement of allowances provided to clients be supported by adequate information to provide for an adequate audit trail. [Agreed]

2.3  Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program

Eight agreements were looked at for ISAP:

In Edmonton

  • YMCA Fort McMurray
  • Indo-Canadian Women’s Association
  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
  • Catholic Social Services

In Calgary

  • Calgary Catholic Immigrant Society (three separate agreements)
  • Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association

YMCA–Fort McMurray

The agreement with the YMCA covers two fiscal years and consists of $27,150 per fiscal year. All funding is for program delivery.

The two claims processed as of December 31, 2005, totalled $   . However, each payment included costs for administrative support, which is not allowed under the agreement. These costs came to $   . Technically, there was an overpayment which should be recovered from the next payment. All payments are made upon receipt of invoices (no advances are provided).

Indo-Canadian Women’s Association

The agreement with the Indo-Canadian Women’s Association covers two fiscal years and consists of $39,105 per fiscal year, including a yearly provision of $1,500 for administrative support. The funding is for program delivery.

No observations were made on this agreement.

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Only a cursory review of this agreement was done for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006. At year-end, the EMCN provided a final report that indicated it had spent the exact amount that it had received from CIC. Both CIC and Alberta shared the costs incurred by the EMCN.

Calgary Catholic Immigrant Society–Health Settlement Counsellor

Under this agreement, a contribution of $30,285 was to be provided for the period May 2005 to March 2006.

  • CCIS provided a first cash flow requirement in July that totalled $    instead of the amount stated in the agreement (the cash flow did not add up to its total). A revised one was finally submitted in January 2006 for $   .
  • The actual expenditures were for the exact same amount as those of the latest cash flow.
  • The amount repayable to CCIS needs to be reviewed to make sure that only allowable costs are refunded and that these costs are not also claimed under other programs, such as RAP, LINC, HOST and ISAP.

There is no evidence that the Calgary office has ascertained this.

Calgary Catholic Immigrant Society–ISAP Delivery Stream

This agreement is for $424,365 and is shared with the Province of Alberta. The CIC share has been established at 55.2256%. The agreement provides for three main categories of reimbursable costs: administration, program delivery and capital. It also includes an item for the non-refundable GST.

Although CCIS has submitted a cash flow forecast, this forecast does not conform to the presentation of the agreement (i.e., presented for each part of the agreement). CCIS is using its cash flow forecast format to report on its expenditures. For CIC to do an adequate analysis of the CCIS financial report, it would have to reformat most of the financial information. Given that the agreement provides for the reimbursement of the services of one CCIS financial officer, CCIS should be providing CIC and the Government of Alberta with adequate information to facilitate the administration of the agreement.

There is no evidence that there is adequate monitoring of actual expenditures in relation to the allowable expenditures. Only the total expenditures are monitored.

To determine whether the current practice of monitoring the agreement may cause the reimbursement of expenditures that would otherwise not be reimbursed, a test was done using the allowable salaries for three positions under the Administration costs. Actual expenditures were available for the period April through December, to which a forecast of salaries for February and March was added (at the same level of pay as January). This test indicates that for these three positions, CIC-Calgary will be paying an excess $   .

Calgary Catholic Immigrant Society–ISAP Project Coordinator

This agreement provides funding for a coordinator and related administrative costs. In terms of administrative costs, CIC is to reimburse a portion of the space rental costs, but it. should verify if this reimbursement is justified for only one employee. Did CCIS rent additional space to deliver this service? Among the reimbursed administrative costs, we noted amounts totalling $    (or  % of the total allowable administrative costs). Included in these non-allowable costs are charges related to auditing.

CIC-Calgary must review this file and exclude all non-allowable expenditures.

Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association–ISAP

This project is also funded by the Government of Alberta. There was no confirmation on file of the value of funding provided by Alberta. We could only infer from the apportionment of expenditures that Alberta is providing approximately 43.8%, or $92,534.

There is no evidence that an analysis of the expenditures is conducted every month to ensure that the costs are all allowable as per the agreement. There is evidence that only the apportionment of the costs between CIC and Alberta is done.

Catholic Social Services (Edmonton)

The agreement with CSS is for $450,623 for each year of a two-year contract. The agreement provides for a cash flow forecast but the cash flow forecast in the file was a simple monthly allocation of one-twelfth. It was not until February 2006 that another cash flow forecast was requested. It was difficult to sort out the eligible expenses—administrative costs versus program delivery costs—as these were lumped together, thus hindering the financial analysis. A look at the 2004–2005 file for this recipient showed that the Financial Settlement Officer had raised the issue that expenses were reimbursed that did not seem justified. There was no indication on file that a follow-up was conducted (and possibly, funds recovered as overpayment). It was noted that such expenses were not claimed in 2005–2006.

It was noticed that the agreement provided for a 10% holdback of the total value of the agreement, but no evidence was found that the 10% rule was applied to ongoing payments. Funds were committed under section 32 of the FAA by a finance assistant when they should have been signed by the CIC-Edmonton Director since the agreement was for more than $100,000.

There was some ongoing monitoring but poor follow-up. For example, the monitoring finance officer reported some issues in 2004–2005, but it seems that they remain outstanding.

There are unanswered questions as to how much rent is actually paid by CIC and the basis on which it should pay such rent. It was noted that there was a close relationship between the contribution recipient (CSS) and the landlord (Catholic Charities).

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the RDG mandate an audit of the Catholic Social Services (Edmonton); [Agreed]
  • the Director, F&A, provide adequate training to settlement officers to perform their duties under the FAA; [Agreed]
  • the RDG ensure that adequate analyses are carried out on a quarterly basis on ISAP agreements; [Agreed]
  • the Director, F&A, be mandated to develop an integrated review process for contribution agreements; [To be done in cooperation with the Integration Branch]
  • all potential overpayments be reviewed and recovered from subsequent agreements; [Agreed] and
  • the RDG develop an integrated audit review process for all recipients where funding exceeds $100,000 for all programs. [Agreed]

2.4. Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada

Four agreements were looked at for LINC:

In Edmonton:

  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

In Calgary:

  • Bow Valley College
  • Language Plus
  • Maple Leaf Academy

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

The 2005–2006 agreement is for $416,000 for language training and child minding. The payment of the contribution is made through advance payments.

The calculation of the advance is not properly determined. Currently, the advance is calculated as follows:

  • begin with the initial cash flow forecast for previous months from the recipient’s cash flow forecast;
  • add the next two months based on the recipient’s cash flow forecast;
  • subtract the initial advance as per the agreement.

The following is a comparison for the calculation of the second advance.

  Edmonton calculation Proposed calculation
Initial cash flow for the first three months    
Actual expenses for the first period (not applicable)  
Forecast for the next two months as per recipient’s cash flow forecast    
Less previous advances    
Advance for the next two months    

The above indicates the following:

  • the recipient received $ in excess of requirements under the current method;
  • the proposed methodology links the next level of financial activities with the previous periods;
  • the proposed method decreases the likelihood that there may be an overpayment at year-end, or at the very least will minimize it.

A further look at the results of the first eight months of the agreement indicates that the recipient had received $269,917 but had only spent $. Still, the Edmonton office paid an advance of $ for the months of December and January while the recipient had already received an excess advance of $.

EMCN is funded for $235,631 under a separate agreement. Under this agreement, EMCN will spend the exact amount stated in the agreement. There is insufficient information to determine (from the financial reports submitted) if the reported expenditures are unique to the contribution agreement.

Bow Valley College–LINC

This agreement is for $2,731,766.

BVC provided quarterly statements supported by the details of the expenditures. It also provided a full listing of employee costs, and a summary of these expenditures that links with the agreement.

All operating expenditures for the first quarter are adequately supported by a detailed report. However, for the second quarter, the detailed information for expenditures under code “210” was not submitted. Third quarter data were all provided.

Language Plus

This agreement is for $163,195. Most expenditures were divided by 12 over the fiscal year.

Maple Leaf Academy

This agreement is for $821,648. The signed agreement includes a description of potential costs for which no budget was allocated. This can lead to various interpretations: either the costs are allowable (because they are listed), or they are specifically excluded because they are listed without a budget.

In this agreement, no budget was included for professional development and telecommunications (all under Program Delivery). Furthermore, a series of costs were included. We conclude that the items for which there is no budget are not allowable under the agreement.

There is no evidence that a financial analysis of the statement of accounts provided by the MLA was conducted. The reimbursed costs included those determined to be non-allowable. CIC-Calgary should be reviewing this file and adjusting future payments accordingly.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the local offices ensure that the cash flow forecast provided by the recipient is consistent with the expected level of monthly activity; [In the process of being actioned]
  • CIC-Calgary discontinue the practice of listing costs that have no associated funds;
  • the Edmonton office review its current practice of calculating advances; [In the process of being actioned] and
  • the Director, F&A, develop and implement training for settlement staff to help them manage the financial aspects of the contribution agreements. [Training to be provided with the assistance of NHQ]

It is noted that the Region has established a Settlement Learning Group and annual (or more frequent) meetings of settlement staff are held in order to share best practices and continually increase the professionalism of CIC settlement staff.

2.5.  CAS involvement

Except for Manitoba where the number of contribution agreements is limited (Canada-Manitoba Agreement), the CAS does not play any substantive role in support of the management of the contribution programs. There is little added value to the role of the CAS except for cheque issue. Given the CAS’s role as the lead in the area of finance, consideration should be given to using their knowledge.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, provide the CAS with adequate training in support of the programs.

3. Operating

In this section, the report will address the following topics:

  1. salary management system
  2. overtime
  3. delegation of authority
  4. travel
  5. hospitality
  6. contracting and purchasing
  7. petty cash
  8. departmental bank accounts
  9. payment run

3.1  Salary management system

As stated in section 1 of this report, SMS is adequately used by most offices and salaries and related charges are maintained in the system. There is, however, a continued use in some offices of “black books” to keep track of the movement of personnel. Given that SMS is the departmental tool for the management of personnel costs and that it has the capability to keep track of the potential expenditures, managers should discontinue the use of such “black books.”

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • SMS be the only tool for the management of personnel costs within the Region; [SMS is the salary management tool used in this region]

and

  • the Director, F&A, provide managers with sufficient training to help them understand the importance of  SMS and its functionality. [SMS training has been given to users. At several regional management meetings, the Director, F&A, has discussed and emphasized the importance of this system being current and up to date. E-mails are sent out several times a year (for budgeting, planning and forecasting) to directors and CAS’s explaining the importance of the system and requesting that they keep it updated.]

3.2  Overtime

Generally, it was observed that management had an appropriate process to record, track, approve and process overtime at the local offices. Employees and supervisors make use of the appropriate forms to record, track and report overtime in a timely manner, and managers or acting managers are approving these forms accordingly. The requirements of Section 34 of the FAA are being complied with, making the Responsibility Centre Manager (RCM) accountable for the overtime worked by the employees.

3.3  Delegation of authority

The documentation on the formal delegation instruments lacks rigour. Several officers indicated that they had received no training on delegation of authority. In several instances, the level of delegation was not included in the instrument. For example, the instrument did not refer to the manager as either an RCM or a Responsibility Centre Administrator (RCA). This distinction is intrinsic to the departmental policy on delegation as defined on the intranet site.

All offices visited made extensive use of a list of pre-authorized individuals who may be asked to replace their supervisors while they were away on business. The list is used extensively throughout the year, even for very short periods of time (one to three days). Except for RAP payments, there is no evidence that the Region requires such an extensive use of replacements for periods of less than one week.

The blanket authorities are usually activated by e-mail but in too many instances, there was no evidence that the authority was activated. Many employees in supervisory positions were neither adequately trained nor fully cognizant of their delegated authorities. In some instances, employees were granted authority over matters that were not their responsibility.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, provide training to all senior officers and to those who may be required to exercise financial authorities from time to time; [Refresher training is currently being planned] and
  • the Director, F&A, perform regular monitoring of the use of delegation of authority and report to the RDG. [Regular monitoring has been done for the past nine years either by Consulting and Audit Canada or internally, and the Finance Unit will continue to monitor in the future.]

3.4  Travel

In the Region, travel is generally well managed, with the Treasury Board directive applied consistently. All travel claims are pre-audited and refund cheques sent to the employee’s home. The Region makes use of global commitments for travel and the commitment is adjusted after use. Although there were a few errors in the process, perhaps due to inattention, there was no indication that this was structural.

The Region makes extensive use of a pre-authorized blanket authority to travel within the Region. There is, however, no compelling reason for most of the employees to have this blanket authority. In one instance, a manager signed a departmental bank account (DBA) for a travel advance (section 33 of the FAA) and the same manager approved the authority to travel (section 34 of the FAA). The DBA was issued without any indication of the urgency of the advance.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the Region discontinue the use of a blanket travel authority below the level of Director General, except perhaps for the most senior officers who are asked to travel on a very frequent basis; [Agreed]
  • the Director, F&A, review the office procedures to ensure that no employee exercises authority under sections 33 and 34 of the FAA at any one time; [This is done on an ongoing basis. Prior to the CBSA transfers, when a similar situation was discovered at POEs, we immediately put in new procedures.] and
  • the Director, F&A, ensure full compliance with the departmental policy on the use of DBAs. [This is monitored on an ongoing basis. The fact that only one instance of non-compliance was found demonstrates that the policy is being observed.]

3.5  Hospitality

Hospitality expenses were adequately approved and complied with the Treasury Board directive. It was noted, however, that the hospitality form was missing on a few occasions when the hospitality expenses were reimbursed through the petty cash.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, remind employees to follow the hospitality directive and make use of the appropriate forms for all occasions. [This is being done an a regular basis and will continue to be done.]

3.6  Contracting and purchasing

Because the Region’s operating budget is fairly small, the assessment team concentrated its efforts on two main types of purchases or contracts: the use of acquisition cards, and  contracting for interpreters.

3.6.1  Interpreters

The files reviewed indicate that proper documentation was available and the hourly rates were in line with departmental practices. These contracts were adequately committed and monitored.

The only problems with these contracts relate to the requirements for approval of expenditures, described in section 3.3 of this chapter.

3.6.2  Acquisition cards

Generally, the use of acquisition cards is in accordance with departmental policy, but there were instances where it did not conform to the policy (for example, the payment of conference fees). Approval of expenditures was an issue and is discussed under section 3.3 of this chapter. The coding of expenditures in one office revealed a total lack of knowledge on the part of the officer in charge. It is expected that with the arrival of a new CAS in that office, this situation will be corrected.

3.6.3  Purchase of water

The practice within the Region is to provide water for its employees. The departmental policy, however, is that water should be purchased from public funds only when there is evidence that the city water does not meet expected health standards. There was no evidence that the cities visited had water advisories in effect at the time of the assessment.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, review local practices and implement departmental policies within the Region. [This will be done. Some of our offices are located in old buildings with lead pipe or solder and it is not recommended to use the water supply for drinking.]

3.6.4  Training

For all intents and purposes, all local offices are independent of each other. There does not appear to be a centre of expertise for contracting in the Region. Training on purchasing and contracting has not been provided to all CAS’s. At the time of the assessment, NHQ Contracting was in Winnipeg to provide training on this subject. However, not all local CAS’s were invited (or if they were, their attendance had been cancelled). The CAS’s indicated that they had not received any training so far.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, be mandated to provide training to all CAS’s as soon as possible; [Due to the financial situation of the Region, it was not cost-effective to bring in CAS’s for a half-day session. Therefore, the CAS’s were invited to attend the video conference training presentation like other regions did. Training has been given in the past. Refresher training is under review.] and
  • the RDG centralize the purchasing function at RHQ and provide a centre of expertise from RHQ. [Agreed]

3.7  Petty cash

Petty cash is in use in all locations: Winnipeg RHQ ($600), CIC-Winnipeg ($1,000), Edmonton ($250) and Calgary ($1,000). The transactions reviewed were all supported by appropriate vouchers and a petty cash receipt signed by the person receiving the funds. The vouchers were all cancelled so that they could not be re-used. The petty cash box is kept in a locked box in a locked cabinet.

Between April and December 2005, the petty cash in Winnipeg had been replenished a maximum of four times, and Calgary only twice. The frequency of replenishment clearly indicates that the amount on hand is well in excess of need. This came as a surprise as all regions had been asked in 2005–2006 to review the adequacy of their petty cash and take appropriate action to ensure that it was in line with their needs.

Among the deficiencies, the team noted coding errors and a missing statement of transfer of petty cash holder. Coding errors are frequent and indicate a lack of understanding of the codes. For example, a reimbursement for a dinner was coded to food preparations while it should have been coded to hospitality or travel.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, provide training on use of the departmental financial coding. [As with some other regions, this region has the finance staff do the coding.]

3.8  Departmental bank accounts

The use of DBAs is constrained by departmental policy, and there is evidence that the Region makes use of DBAs in accordance with this policy. DBAs were entered into IFMS in a timely manner at all locations visited. All cheques reviewed were signed by officers having delegation of authority. DBAs are maintained in a secure location. The number of officers having authority to sign DBAs is adequate as a rule, but the number was excessive for RHQ-Winnipeg where 11 officers were noted as having this authority (in addition to the employees working at CIC-Winnipeg one floor above).

In one location, the CAS did not have the authority to sign DBAs. Given that signing DBA’s is a de facto signature under section 33 of the FAA, to the extent possible, the CAS should be granted the authority to sign all DBAs.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the CAS be mandated to sign all DBAs to the extent possible. [To be actioned]

3.9  Payment run

In all offices, the CAS has the authority to process payment runs. All appropriate verification steps are normally taken before approving a payment.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the Director, F&A, remind the CAS and the junior financial officers at RHQ of their responsibilities from time to time and the various steps to follow when approving payments. [Implemented]

4. Revenues

In this section, the report will review the following topics:

  1. revenue generation
  2. bank deposits
  3. security over public money

4.1  Revenue generation

A substantial number of transactions are performed at the local office level. The transactions vary from the payment of RPRFs (the Right of Permanent Resident Fee) and the replacement of immigration documents to the acceptance of payments on immigration loans. The table below indicates the number of transactions for some key business lines for fiscal year 2005–2006.

  CIC – Winnipeg   CIC – Edmonton   CIC – Calgary
  Value No. Value No. Value No.
RPRF $101,450.00 104 $233,275.00 239 $24,375.00 25
Immigration documents $8,160.00 272 $19,050.00 635 $22,410.00 747
Working permits $57,025.00 380 $5,100.00 170 $11,550.00 385
Student permits $1,000.00 8 $975.00 7 $625.00 4
Immigration loans $585,984.88   $594,200.36   $506,342.68  
  $753,619.88   $852,600.36   $565,302.68  

To limit the number of payments made to the local offices and to reduce the number of visitors to the local offices for the repayment of immigration loans, the CAS’s were provided with a letter to give to clients inviting them to send their payments to NHQ-Accounting Operations directly. It is hoped that this practice will reduce traffic at the local offices.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • to the extent possible, the local offices refer clients who request a work permit or a student permit to CPC Vegreville. [Within the requirement to provide emergency or compassionate service, this will be done.]

4.2  Bank deposits

In general, public money is deposited within the time frame required by policy. However, since the amount is often substantial, consideration should be given to more frequent deposits.

4.3  Security over public money

Security over the receipt of funds was looked at from two different angles: the point of reception and access to the money after it has left the “cashier” area. Most offices visited did not have a dedicated cashier: the receipt of funds was part of the officers’ responsibilities. Although minimal funds were lost over the past few years, it remains that deficiencies were found in Winnipeg and Calgary.

In Winnipeg, each officer in charge of the receipt of public money has a cash drawer. Funds are counted and remitted to the accounting unit. This unit has a large safe in which the funds are kept. This area is surrounded by desks and partitions but everyone has access to the location. We counted no fewer than five different points of entry. Furthermore, during our visit, the safe was open most of the day and everyone had full access to the money. The area was often left unattended during the day. Finally, there had been a change in personnel in the past few months and the safe combination had not been changed.

In Calgary, the officers did not have their own cash drawers; all incoming money was put into a single cash drawer. At any time, there could have been at least two officers working together and up to four had access to the same drawer. Shortages and losses were incurred during the year, but no one could be faulted given the lack of control over the incoming money. Once the money left the “cashier” area, there was adequate security. The officers working in the service area do not report to the CAS and the CAS has not been given any authority in terms of daily reconciliation and control over incoming revenues. The funds are given once a week to the CAS for deposit.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • In Winnipeg,
    • the CAS ensure that the combination of the safe is changed every time a new employee is put in charge of the safe; [This is regional practice. Will continue to do spot checks to ensure conformity.]
    • the CAS ensure that the safe is kept locked at all times, except when access to it is required and for short periods at any time. [Agreed]
  • In Calgary,
    • the Director, F&A, provide direction to the CAS-Calgary as soon as possible to acquire cash drawers for each officer and each officer be given a cash float for his or her own requirements; [Agreed]
    • the CAS be given responsibility for the counting of funds at the end of each day; [Agreed] and
    • the CAS provide direction to staff working in the service unit with regard to the handling of public money. [Agreed]

5. Assets

In this section, the report will address the following topics:

  1. safeguard
  2. vehicle use

5.1  Safeguard

The assessment team looked at two main assets (excluding vehicles): servers, and safes and locked cabinets for petty cash.

Servers are kept in a locked room with limited access.

In Calgary, the petty cash is not always kept in a locked cabinet. During business hours, the cash box is often left in an unlocked cabinet. The number of reimbursements does not justify the availability of the cash box at all times.

Recommendation

It is recommended that:

  • the petty cash box be kept in a locked cabinet at all times unless needed. [Agreed]

5.2  Vehicle use

Winnipeg has two cars at its disposal, and Edmonton and Calgary each have one.

In Winnipeg, between April and December 2005, RHQ used the car for 484 kilometres while CIC-Winnipeg used it for 4,612 kilometres. The CIC-Winnipeg office car is used to go to the Winnipeg Airport, Emerson, RCMP headquarters and Welcome Place. Both the Winnipeg Airport and Emerson are CBSA ports of entry for which the Region provides IT support (and, in all likelihood, travel to RCMP headquarters is also related to CBSA enforcement responsibilities).

In Edmonton, for the period April 1, 2005, to February 28, 2006, the car registered 14,876 kilometres. It was mainly used to get supplies and to go to the airport (IT support for the CBSA) and the Reception House.

In Calgary, for the same period of April 1, 2005, to February 28, 2006, the car registered 14,871 kilometres. It was mainly used to go to the airport (IT support for the CBSA), visit CSIS offices and the Margaret Chisholm Resettlement Centre, for local travel and to get supplies.

There is little evidence that the Region recovers all the costs related to the use of the car for CBSA-related duties. We found no evidence of an MOU in place for this. NHQ Administration Branch issued such a document in January 2006.

Recommendations

It is recommended that:

  • the RDG review the need for cars at the local offices; [Agreed]
  • the Chief Financial Officer, in collaboration with the Director General, Administration and Security, review the need to purchase cars with funds available at year-end unless there are program requirements for the use of the car; [Agreed that all vehicle purchases ought to be justified for program delivery purposes] and
  • the replacement of the cars be subject to a cost-benefit analysis based on CIC needs only. [Agreed]

Appendix A – Team Members

André Couture
Team Leader
Director, Accounting Operations

Daniel Mills
Manager, Corporate Accounting

Hélène Poulin
Financial Advisor

Anne-Marie Joanisse
Senior Project Officer

Rollande Wolfe
Senior Financial Policy Advisor

Appendix B – Action Plan

PRAIRIES AND NORTHERN TERRITORIES REGION
MONITORING: ACTION PLAN
September  30, 2008

Reference Observation Corrective Action Implementation date Comments
Executive summary Regional Director General:
  • implement the recommendations contained in this report
See below See under each recommendation Completed
 
  • managers be provided with the tools and training to manage their programs effectively
See comments in relevant sections See under each recommendation Completed
  Director, Financial Services and Administration:
  • undertakes, as a minimum, yearly visit of all local offices;
Visits scheduled June to August 2007
Few visits were also done in 2008.
Completed
Those visits always depend on funding availability
 
  • Invites all Chiefs Administrative Services to a regional conference at least once a year.
Meeting scheduled May 8, 2007 Completed
Budgeting & Reporting        
1.1.1 The Director, Financial Services and Administration
  • do an “A” base review of all costs (salary and non-salary) to determine whether or not the Region has sufficient operating funds to operate;
Full review to be carried out November 2007 Report completed and submitted to NHQ Finance. No further action required from the region at this point.
  The Regional Director General reviews the spending pattern of the Region and determines if there are ways to reduce costs and still provide incremental flexibility. Monthly monitoring of planned and actual expenses in relation to regional operational plan Monthly
(on-going)
Completed
1.2.2 The Director, Financial Services and Administration
  • develop an integrated approach to forecasting for contribution;
Strategy to be discussed at the Regional Management Team meeting
Implementation

May 8 -11, 2007

Start date: June 2007 and on-going afterwards)

Completed
 
  • develop a training programs for CAS, Senior Settlement Officers and Area Directors to ensure consistency and adequacy of the forecast exercise;
A National Financial Contribution Monitoring tool and training will be developed (operational activity and financial monitoring) March 2008 National tools and training delayed to next FY. Regional Financial Monitoring training scheduled Jan 28-31st and March. Discussed at Settlement Learning & Development Symposium. No further action required from the region.
  The Area Directors work closely with the CAS in developing forecasts, especially for contribution programs, and that they make use of their financial expertise. Development of approach
Regular review
January 2007
For all required forecast as of June 30, August 31 and on a monthly basis afterwards
Completed
1.3 The Director Financial Services and Administration develop and provide training at all levels of the organization on reporting and on the use of the tools such as SMS and IFMS in accordance with their needs and Discussion with NHQ-IFMS team on approach
Implementation

Summer 2007

September 2007

NHQ in consultation with the Region designed and delivered training to CAS and F&A users.
Completed
1.4 The Director, Financial Services and Administration develop and implement a training plan for the Region; this plan must include the requirement for all staff to take training, whether or not they are in a permanent position. 1.  Region will determine the financial training needs
2.  Region will develop plan

1.  September 2007

2.  October 2007

Financial training needs assessed by position and a list of recommended training compiled. A regional training plan is compiled annually based on information from individual learning plans and approved within budgetary limitations. Due to staff turnover, training is of an ongoing nature.
Transfer payments        
2.1 The request for payment under section 34 of the Financial Administration Act be exercised by a senior program manager such as the Regional Director, Programs. Delegation limited to the Regional Director’s level February 2006 Completed
2.2 RAP        
2.2.1 The Calgary office
  • discontinue its practice of pre-approving the total amount of the income support;
Procedures were issued to staff Fall 2006 Completed
 
  • implement an authorization process similar to that in use in Winnipeg;
Implementation of Winnipeg procedures February 2006 Completed
  The Director Financial Services and Administration
  • provide direction to all local offices on delegation of authority to all managers;
Direction to be provided to all new managers on an as-required basis with annual briefing Fall 2006 and on-going afterwards Completed
 
  • institutes a formal monitoring process of monitoring compliance with the FAA as well as those of the program terms and conditions.
Development of monitoring tools Fall 2007 Completed (part of the on-going monitoring activities)
2.2.2 The contribution agreements spell out clearly what the reporting schedule and format should be; Settlement officers and managers will ensure that they clearly spell out the deliverables, expected results and required reporting requirements.
In addition, an OMC-led Management Control Framework Advisory Committee has been tasked with, among other things, “ensuring consistency in the content and application of tools, reference material and guidelines, and identifying requisite training for employees who work with Contribution Agreements”.

Spring 2007

 

 

Fall 2007

Completed

 

 

  • Training plan developed and target courses are being designed
  • Work underway to update and redesign the Settlement manual
  • CA Forms WG established; review of the standard CA forms underway
  • Inventory of regional tools underway – will be made available nationally to share good practices
  The local offices in consultation with RHQ Manager Finance and Administration ensures that the recipients conform themselves to the requirements of the agreement; Distribution of policies and directive to regional settlement staff April 2007 Completed
  The reimbursements for allowances provided to clients be supported by adequate information to provide for an adequate audit trail. As per the settlement guidelines, SPOs to submit monthly or quarterly reports on the temporary accommodation expenses On-going Completed
2.3
ISAP
The Regional Director General
  • mandate an audit of the Catholic Social Services (Edmonton);
Audit carried out in FY 05/06. Currently working with the SPO to implement corrective action
plan
November 2005
Last meeting with the SPO, April 2007 and June 2007
Claims for each agreement are thoroughly reviewed and issues clarified with the SPO.
Progress reviewed on an on-going basis through financial monitoring. Completed
  Director Financial Services and Administration provides adequate training to Settlement Officers to perform their responsibilities under the FAA; Development of training package:
  • CSPS course on Contributions Management;
  • CSPS course on Negotiations;
  • in-house financial training; and
  • in-house forecasting training
March 2007 Completed
 
  • ensures that adequate analyses are carried out on a quarterly basis on ISAP agreements;
Analyses of claims will precede the issuance of payments
Staffing of new resource dedicated to monitoring for financial monitoring

Spring 2007

Summer 2007

Completed

Position staffed

 
  • be mandated with the development of an integrated review process for contribution agreements;
See 3rd element above See 3rd element above Project tools are to be developed by OMC. No further action required from the region
 
  • all potential overpayments be reviewed and recovered from subsequent agreements;
The NHQ Accounting Directive will be implemented immediately May 2007 Completed
 
  • develop an integrated audit review process for all recipients where funding exceed $100,000 for all programs.
On-site visits
Use of external auditors
Development of a national integrated approach in conjunction with NHQ Finance
On-going
On-going
December 2007
Completed
Completed
2.4 LINC The local offices ensure that the cash flow forecast provided by the recipient is relevant to the expected level of monthly activity; Guidelines issued to all settlement officers Fall 2006 Completed
  The CIC-Calgary discontinue the practice of listing costs for which there is no funded associated with; Practice being discontinued June 2007 Completed
  The Edmonton office reviews its current practices of calculating advances; and that Implementation of procedures for the calculation of advances Fall 2006 Completed
  The Director Financial Services and Administration develops and implement training for settlement staff to help them manage the financial aspects of the contribution agreements. CSPS training on contribution agreements provided to all target groups October 2005 as well as September and October 2006 Completed
2.5 CAS The Director Financial Services and Administration provide the CAS with adequate training in support to the programs. Workshop for CAS May 2007 and on-going Completed
Operating        
3.1 SMS be the only tool for the management of personnel costs within the Region; SMS is the only salary management used in the Region June 2006 Completed
  The Director Financial Services and Administration provide managers with sufficient training to help them understand the importance of SMS and its functionality. SMS training has been given to users. Throughout 2006-2007 and on-going as required Completed
3.3 The Director Financial Services and Administration
  • provide training to all senior officers and to those who may be required to exercise financial authorities from time to time;
CSPS training on delegation of authority now mandatory for all current and new managers February 2007 Completed – RC Managers and actors have successfully completed training
 
  • perform regular monitoring of the use of delegation of authority and report to the Regional Director General.
Review to be performed at least one a year as mandated by TB policy On-going Completed
3.4 The Region discontinues the use of blanket travel authority below the Director General, except perhaps for the most senior officers who are asked to travel on a very frequent basis; Program Managers have been given blanket authority April 2007 Completed
Only program staff that meet the NHQ criteria being given blanket authority
  The Director Financial Services and Administration
  • review the office procedures to ensure that no employee exercise authority under section 33 and 34 of the FAA at any one time;
Instruction to field offices and on-going monitoring May 2007 Completed
 
  • ensure full compliance with the departmental policy on the use of DBA. (Departmental Bank Account – DBA cheques are used when there is an urgent need, rather than to requisition a PWGSC cheque.)
Compliance is being monitored On-going Completed
3.5 The Director Financial Services and Administration remind employees to follow the Hospitality Directive and make use of the appropriate forms for all occasions. Reminders issued to all staff Fall 2006 Completed
3.6.3 The Director Financial Services and Administration
  • review local practices (purchase of water) and implement departmental practices within the Region.
Review performed On-going Completed
3.6.4
  • be mandated to provide training to all CAS as soon as possible;
Hiring of an RHQ-based Procurement Officer whose responsibility will include support to CAS Fall 2006 Completed
  The Regional Director centralizes the purchasing function at RHQ and provide a centre of expertise from RHQ. Review of centralization and impact on organization Fall 2007 Review and analysis completed. Completion of the implementation scheduled for fall 2008. No further action at this point from region
 
  • provide training on use of the departmental financial coding.
Information on financial coding provided Spring 2007 and on-going as changes occur Completed
  The CAS be mandated to sign all DBA’s to the extent possible. CAS provided with the relevant authorities October 2006 Completed
3.9 The Director Financial Services and Administration remind from time to time CAS and the junior financial officers at RHQ of their responsibilities and the various steps to follow when approving payments. On-going monitoring has been implemented On-going Completed
4.1 The local offices refer their clients requesting a work permit or a student permit to CPC Vegreville. Clients to CPC Vegreville, except for emergency or compassionate service. May 2007 Completed
4.3 The CAS and the Director, Financial Services and Administration
  • ensure that the safe combination be changed every time the employee in charge of the safe change position;
Changed every time the employee in charge of a safe is changed On-going Completed
 
  • ensure that the safe is kept locked at all time, except when access to it required and for a short period at any time;
The safe will be kept locked except when there is a need to access it May 2007 Completed
  The Director Financial Services and Administration provide direction to the CAS-Calgary, as soon as possible, to acquire cash drawers for each officer at the front counter and that each officer be given a cash float for his/her own requirement; Cash drawers installed in November 2007. Following the internal audit, management action was to move to a dedicated cashier in March 2008. This will remain the situation until they obtain new facilities. September 2007 Completed
  The CAS in Calgary
  • be given the responsibility for the counting of funds at the end of each day
Funds deposited daily and reconciled daily by Administration Unit under the supervision of the CAS April 2006 Completed
 
  • provide direction to staff working at the front counter in regard to the handling of public money.
CAS has provided instructions to staff April 2006 Completed
5.1 The Calgary petty cash box be kept in a locked cabinet at all time until needed. Cash box in locked cabinet Feb 2006 Completed
5.2 The Regional Director General review the need for cars at the local offices; Regional Fleet Management Review Committee report to the RDG. April 2006 Completed
  The Chief Financial Officer in collaboration with the Director General, Administration and Security
  • review the need to fund the purchase of cars from funds available at year-end unless there are program requirements for the use of the car;
A review was carried out by the Administration and Security Branch. All regions were advised on those vehicles which will not be replaced when current vehicles are disposed of Fiscal year 2006-07 Completed
 
  • the replacement of the cars be subject to a cost-benefit analysis based on CIC needs only.
See above See above Completed
Date Modified: