2015–16 Annex A—Assessment of internal control over financial reporting

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1. Introduction

This document provides a summary of the measures taken by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC or the Department) to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting (ICFR), which includes information on internal control management, assessment results and related action plans.

Detailed information on PWGSC's authority, mandate and programs can be found in the 2015–16 Departmental Performance Report and 2016–17 Report on Plans and Priorities.

2. Public Works and Government Services Canada system of internal control over financial reporting

2.1 Internal control management

PWGSC has a well-established governance and accountability structure to support departmental assessment and oversight of its system of internal control. The Department's internal control management framework forms part of its Financial Management Framework (FMF). The application of the FMF is an important responsibility for which all managers are accountable, and as such forms part of all performance management agreements. The FMF has been approved by the Deputy Head and includes:

The AEC provides advice to the Deputy Head on the adequacy and functioning of the Department's risk management, control and governance frameworks and processes. AEC meets approximately six times a year and is comprised of the Deputy Minister (Chair), the Associate Deputy Minister and three members external to the federal public administration, one of whom is the Vice-Chair. AEC meetings are also attended by the Chief Financial Officer.

The Executive Committee (EXCO) is another key committee with responsibilities for overseeing the effectiveness of the departmental system of ICFR. As PWGSC's central decision-making body, EXCO reviews, approves and monitors the corporate risk profile and the departmental system of internal control, including monitoring the progress made on the implementation of the system of ICFR. EXCO is a weekly management forum.

2.2 Service arrangements relevant to financial statements

PWGSC relies on other organizations for the processing of certain transactions that are recorded in its financial statements as follows:

Common arrangements

PWGSC administers the following Receiver General Central Systems used by other government departments to process treasury-related and salary-related transactions: Standard Payment System (SPS), Government Banking System (GBS), Regional Pay System (RPS), Payroll System-General Ledger (PS-GL) and Receiver General-General Ledger (RG-GL). Internal controls related to these systems are maintained and monitored by PWGSC's Accounting, Banking and Compensation Branch (ABCB). PWGSC has provided to all departments a letter of assurance attesting to the reliability of the control framework for these central systems. PWGSC also provides payroll and pension administration services to other federal government departments, agencies and public service pensioners.

Specific arrangements

3. Public Works and Government Services Canada assessment results during fiscal year 2015–16

The key findings and adjustments required from the current year's assessment activities are summarized below.

New or significantly amended key controls

In the current year, there were amended key controls in existing processes which required a reassessment as a result of the implementation of business transformation initiatives and systems.

Ongoing monitoring program

As part of PWGSC's rotational ongoing monitoring plan, the Department completed a reassessment of the financial controls within Procurement, Payables and Payments, Environmental Liabilities, Capital Assets and Sales to Settlement business processes. As well, planned review work was completed in Entity Level Controls, Information Technology General Controls, Payroll, and Financial Statements Preparation and Year-end Financial Close business processes. One significant deficiency was identified for the key controls tested related to the implementation of the new real property management system; however, compensating controls exist to ensure that the financial information is complete and reliable. Opportunities for improvement, which is the expected result for this type of work, were also identified across many areas and are as follows:

4. Public Works and Government Services Canada's action plan

4.1 Progress during fiscal year 2015–16

During 2015–16, PWGSC continued to conduct its ongoing monitoring activities according to the previous fiscal year's plan as shown in the following table.

Progress during fiscal year 2015–16

Previous year's ongoing monitoring plan for current year Status
Entity level controls Ongoing monitoring is at an advanced stage.
Information technology general controls Completed as planned and remedial actions in progress.
Payroll Completed as planned with items for consideration identified.
Financial statements preparation Completed as planned and no remedial actions required.
Procurement, payables and payments Completed as planned and remedial actions started.
Sales to settlement Completed as planned and remedial actions started.
Year-end financial close Completed as planned and no remedial actions required.
Capital assets Completed as planned with remedial actions identified.
Environmental liabilities Completed as planned and remedial actions in progress.

4.2 Action plan for the next fiscal year and subsequent years

PWGSC continues to optimize its business processes affected by the implementation of the real property management system, the Alternate form of Delivery (AFD) contracts for real estate project management and Pay modernization. PWGSC's rotational ongoing monitoring plan will take those elements into consideration.

Rotational ongoing monitoring plan for internal controls over financial reporting

The Department's rotational ongoing monitoring plan over the next three years is based on an annual validation of the high risk processes and controls and related adjustments to the ongoing monitoring plan as required. Each of the following key control areas is subject to annual ongoing monitoring with sub-processes being fully assessed over a three-year cycle: Entity Level Controls, Information Technology General Controls, Payroll, Financial Statements Preparation, Procurement, Payables and Payments, Sales to Settlement, Year-end Financial Close, Capital Assets, and Environmental Liabilities.

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