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Results: 451 - 465 of 1035
Andrew Newman
View Andrew Newman Profile
Andrew Newman
2020-10-22 11:24
Thank you.
I am Andrew Newman, the independent external auditor of the House of Commons. I am pleased to introduce as well my colleague Charly Thivierge-Lortie, the senior manager responsible for the financial statements of the House of Commons.
Mr. Paquette has just presented the financial statements of the House for the year ended March 31, 2020. My role here today is to confirm my independent audit opinion on these financial statements, as well as to provide the members with a summary of our findings resulting from our audit.
Our audit opinion is attached to the financial statements presented by Mr. Paquette. Our audit was performed under Canadian generally accepted auditing standards, which are the professional standards followed for all financial statement audits in Canada. The financial statements are prepared using public sector accounting standards, which are the standards used by all governments in Canada and are issued by the Public Sector Accounting Board of Canada, on which I have had the privilege to serve for the past 12 years, including six years as vice-chair.
Our audit opinion, which is on the first page of our auditor's report, states:In our opinion, the accompanying financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the [House of Commons] as at March 31, 2020, and its results of operations, its accumulated surplus and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Canadian public sector accounting standards.
Our auditor's report is signed “KPMG LLP” and dated August 11, 2020.
Members, this is a clean, unmodified audit opinion that members of Parliament should expect their financial management team to achieve. We have also provided to the members of the board an audit findings report. In summary, our financial statement audit was fundamentally completed as planned. The pandemic required that our detailed audit procedures be performed in a virtual, secure environment, and that was achieved. I do want to thank the House of Commons administration team for their additional efforts and commitment to the audit process to make a virtual audit not only possible but relatively smooth.
During our audit, we did not identify any audit adjustments in the amounts recorded in the books and records and reported in the House financial statements. What this means is that the financial reports prepared by management prior to the audit did not change as a result of our audit. During our audit, we also did not identify any internal control deficiencies that we determined to be significant deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting. We have provided recommendations for improvements to management with respect to certain payroll processes, primarily around the documentation of the performance of certain procedures. Management agreed with our recommendations and are currently working to implement those improvements. We will review their progress during our 2021 financial statement audit.
Members, in short, this is a positive audit report. I would like to thank House management once again for their diligent participation in the audit process, and thank this board for finding the time in your busy agenda for the financial statements and audit results to be presented. This is an important aspect of governance for all organizations, particularly in the public forum that you work in every day.
I would welcome questions, if the members have any.
Thank you.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are there any questions?
Seeing none, we'll move on to the next section—
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Julian, please go ahead. I'm sorry, I didn't see you.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
I raised my hand, and then I used the “raise hand” function. We're still dealing with the new virtual environment, which is really my question.
I think it's reassuring that you didn't find any deficiencies in the audit, and no adjustments. What I'm interested in hearing a little bit more about is how you were able to achieve a full audit in a virtual, secure environment. Of course, the information needed to be secure. This is quite a different environment for this kind of audit procedure. I think it would be interesting to have a brief summary, I guess, of some of the measures that needed to be taken to perform an audit in this kind of environment.
Andrew Newman
View Andrew Newman Profile
Andrew Newman
2020-10-22 11:29
I presume that is for me.
Andrew Newman
View Andrew Newman Profile
Andrew Newman
2020-10-22 11:29
The world certainly changed for auditors in all sorts of financial audit statements when the pandemic hit in mid-March, and audits went from on-site services to virtual services, really across the board and across Canada. As a firm, KPMG had put in the protocols around working virtually and having our teams fundamentally work from home.
From an aspect of security of information, we worked very diligently with your team, and certainly Mr. Paquette can speak to the security aspects of information from their side. From our side, KPMG in Ottawa is a secure federal government office. We are audited by PSPC not only on an annual but also an ad hoc basis with regard to that, including our IT systems and our ways to communicate between offices. We use that. We had that security already pre-defined and we use it to transfer information between the House and KPMG to protect it appropriately.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
We will now go to Mr. Richards.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
I wonder, Mr. Newman, if you could just explain to us this issue that was related to the payroll documentation and maybe just what that concern was. You or maybe the administration would need to give us this, but what is being done to remedy the situation there?
Andrew Newman
View Andrew Newman Profile
Andrew Newman
2020-10-22 11:30
Thank you for the question. I welcome this opportunity to assure the members that the issue isn't around people being paid the wrong amount or that employees were being improperly paid or anything. It revolves around the documentation of certain reviews and approvals within the employee file itself.
We identified this as we changed our approach a little bit with regard to the Phoenix pay system and went from what is called a “substantive approach”, where we picked a sample and looked at it, and moved to a controls-based approach, where we looked at the controls around the House to really assess why the House was getting pretty good results around employees' pay.
We looked at the controls and the processes. In that, we identified, again, recommendations for improvements. These aren't significant control deficiencies around consistency and documentation of the performance of procedures within the employee file. It's not that the procedures were not performed. It was just documenting them in the employee file so that when auditors like us come in there is evidence that those procedures were completed.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
Okay.
You mentioned that you made recommendations for improvement. How do those recommendations get brought forward and what is done to follow up on those recommendations to make sure they are being put in place?
Andrew Newman
View Andrew Newman Profile
Andrew Newman
2020-10-22 11:32
Absolutely. Those recommendations are brought forward in a formal letter from us to management, and management has agreed with all of our recommendations. I want to emphasize that.
Management gets an opportunity, obviously, to work at and implement those recommendations, and they have committed to do so. Then, when we come back to do our audit for 2020-21, we will look to make sure our recommendations have been appropriately implemented and that those issues have been resolved. If not, it would be accelerated into a significant deficiency and the comptroller of this committee would see it next year.
View Blake Richards Profile
CPC (AB)
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)
Very good. Are there any further questions?
Okay. That being established, maybe we'll move on.
Thank you, Mr. Paquette, Mr. Fernandez, Monsieur Newman and Madame Thivierge-Lortie.
I understand that it is normal and good governance practice for independent auditors to have a discussion in camera with board members, without management present, regarding the preparation of the year-end audited financial statements.
I would therefore like to propose to the board members that we hold a short in camera session without the House administration officials to allow board members to have this discussion. Do I have the acceptance of members to proceed to in camera? Yes? Okay.
Thank you. What we will do is take a short break to transition into in camera. At this time, I will ask the House administration officials to exit the room, both in person and virtually. Once this discussion is complete, those in person will be summoned back into the room and those virtually will receive an email summoning them to rejoin the room as well.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
Results: 451 - 465 of 1035 | Page: 31 of 69

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