Pursuant to Standing Order 108 of the House of Commons, the mandate of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts is to review and report on:
the Public Accounts of Canada;
all reports of the Auditor General of Canada;
the Office of the Auditor General’s reports on plans and priorities and departmental performance reports; and
any other matter that the House of Commons shall, from time to time, refer to the Committee.
The Public Accounts Committee is Parliament’s standing audit committee, and it reviews the work of the federal government’s external auditor, the Auditor General of Canada.
When the Speaker tables the Auditor General’s report in the House of Commons, it is automatically referred to the Public Accounts Committee. The Committee selects the chapters of the report it wants to study and calls the Auditor General and senior public servants from the audited organizations to appear before it to respond to the Office of the Auditor General’s findings. The Public Accounts Committee also reviews the federal government’s consolidated financial statements – the Public Accounts of Canada – and examines financial and/or accounting shortcomings raised by the Auditor General. At the conclusion of a study the Committee may present a report to the House that includes recommendations to the government for improvements in administrative and financial practices and controls of federal departments and agencies.
Government policy, and the extent to which policy objectives are achieved, are generally not examined by the Public Accounts Committee. Instead, the Committee focuses on government administration – the economy and efficiency of program delivery as well as the adherence to government policies, directives and standards. The Committee seeks to hold the government to account for effective public administration and due regard for public funds.