THE BLOG

Did the AG Break the Law With Bad Auditing?

06/15/2012 05:32 EDT | Updated 08/15/2012 05:12 EDT

The federal Auditor General's report on House of Commons and Senate spending is disappointing because it does not include audits of even a representative sample of MPs' or senators' expenses, let alone all of them.

Not only does the AG have the clear legal power to audit the expenses of MPs and senators whether or not they invite the AG to do so, a strong argument can be made that the AG is legally required to do this audit at least every few years (see requirements set out below).

The Auditor General does not have the resources to audit the entire government every year, but most of the main institutions are audited at least every few years.

Given that it has been 20 years since MPs and senators were audited in any way (and that was not a full audit), and that senators have agreed to be audited, and given that serious violations have been found by auditors in other jurisdictions, the federal Auditor General is simply failing to fulfill his legal duties by continuing .to fail to audit the $500 million spent by MPs annually.

Auditor General Act (R.S., 1985, c. A-17)

POWERS AND DUTIES

Examination

5. The Auditor General is the auditor of the accounts of Canada, including those relating to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and as such shall make such examinations and inquiries as he considers necessary to enable him to report as required by this Act.

1976-77, c. 34, s. 5.

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Access to information

13. (1) Except as provided by any other Act of Parliament that expressly refers to this subsection, the Auditor General is entitled to free access at all convenient times to information that relates

to the fulfilment of his or her responsibilities and he or she is also entitled to require and receive from members of the federal public administration any information, reports and explanations that he or she considers necessary for that purpose.

Inquiries

(4) The Auditor General may examine any person on oath on any matter pertaining to any account subject to audit by him and for the purposes of any such examination the Auditor General may exercise all the powers of a commissioner under Part I of the Inquiries Act.

R.S., 1985, c. A-17, s. 13; 2003, c. 22, s. 90(E)