Mr. David Christopherson, M.P.
On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to respond to the Sixteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled Chapter 6, Transfer Payments to the Aerospace Sector—Industry Canada, of the Fall 2012 Report of the Auditor General of Canada.
I would like to thank the Committee for its work in reviewing this Chapter. As you point out, the Auditor General (AG) found that my department has a reasonable management control framework in place. I am pleased that the AG concluded that my department manages its aerospace programs in a sound manner. As noted by your committee, a number of administrative improvements were proposed and accepted by the Department, as we are committed to continual improvement.
The aerospace sector is crucial to Canada’s economic development, sovereignty, national security, and public safety. Our government is committed to ensuring the continued success of this important industry.
At the time of the Committee’s February 2013 meeting, Industry Canada officials were pleased to report that the Department had already implemented five of the AG’s seven recommendations. For example, we have developed a new claim service standard; we continue to include in contribution agreements project-specific objectives and anticipated project outcomes and benefits; we have documented our approach to risk management; and we have published a Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI) program highlights report that will be updated annually. In addition, we have a plan in place to ensure that the Department’s policies and procedures meet the requirements of the Policy on Transfer Payments.
Program evaluation is an essential tool for assessing whether government programs are meeting their objectives. In keeping with the Committee’s recommendation, I am particularly pleased to report that we have advanced the Bombardier CSeries evaluation by two years and will now complete it by November 2013.
Transparency is an important principle underlying how we manage our transfer payment programs. SADI illustrates our commitment to transparency. We report publically on new recipients, including the nature of their projects, anticipated benefits, and maximized authorized assistance. Twice each year we report on our website amounts disbursed and amounts repaid to the Crown. We also publish annual reports on the status of the program in achieving its results and update on the progress of individual projects within the portfolio. Sometimes data is reported at an aggregate level to protect commercially confidential information of individual companies. We will continue to strike the proper balance between reporting publicly on program results and protecting the commercial confidentiality of Canadian-based companies.
I would like to thank you and the other members of the Committee for your interest in Canada’s aerospace sector and for reinforcing the important findings of the AG. In closing, I would like to assure you that the Department has accepted the AG findings and will have fully implemented them once our evaluations are completed. At the request of your committee, I would be pleased to report again on our progress by March 31, 2014.
The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.