Pursuant to Standing
Order 108(3) of the House of Commons, the mandate of the Standing Committee
on Public Accounts is to review and report on:
When the Auditor General tables a report in the House of Commons, it is
automatically referred to the Public Accounts Committee, Parliament’s standing
audit committee. The Committee then selects the portions of the report
it wants to scrutinize and calls public servants from audited organizations
to appear before it to explain the Auditor General’s findings. The Public
Accounts Committee also reviews the federal government’s consolidated financial
statements – the Public Accounts of Canada – andattempts
to identify financial shortcomings of the government in light of issues
raised in the Auditor General’s report. The Committee then makes recommendations
to the government for improvements in spending practices.
Thus, the Public Accounts Committee focuses on:
economy, efficiency and effectiveness of government administration;
quality of administrative practices in the delivery of federal programs;
accountability to Parliament with regard to federal spending.
Government policy, and the extent to which policy objectives are achieved,
are not within the purview of the Public Accounts Committee. This “non-policy” orientation
fosters the emergence of a non-partisan spirit within the Committee that
encourages members to identify problems and find solutions.
During the past few Parliaments, the Committee has occupied 90-95% of
its time in the consideration of Auditor Generals’ reports. It has also
scrutinized other issues, however, such as the financial statements of
the Government of Canada, the performance of Crown corporations, and some
major program expenditures of departments or agencies.
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