The Canadian Northern Economic Agency is a financial mess, according to a recently released internal audit.
The agency broke all but one of 13 different financial policy directives the audit examined.
In addition, auditors accused the agency of breaking the law in the way it awarded and administered contracts.
The federal agency, which manages about $75 million per year, was set up in 2009 to facilitate northern economic development.
In the last two years the Cannor has had five different financial officers.
That high turnover rate may have contributed to the lack of financial controls, according to the audit’s findings.
The minister in charge of the agency, Leona Aglukkaq, didn’t respond to requests for an interview, but did release a statement.
“Our government takes any indication of poor financial management by officials seriously,” she wrote. “We expect all agencies and public servants to follow the rules, and work has already begun to make improvements.”
The audit made a total of 19 recommendations that include the development of better verification of what they’re spending money on, developing a process to ensure that contracts are chosen based specifically on terms and conditions, and that there is evidence to support those decisions and ensuring that travel, hospitality and acquisitions cards are properly documented.
“I have made it clear to my department we accept and will implement each and every recommendation contained in the audit,” wrote Aglukkaq.
Cannor has already started to implement some of the auditor’s recommendations, said Wanda Thompson, the agency’s director of communications.
“The agency is committed to ensuring it has the appropriate processes and controls in place, to comply with applicable legislative and policy requirements, to ensure transparent, effective and efficient service to its clients,” she wrote in an email. “The minister will be receiving regular reports on the agency’s progress in addressing all of the audit recommendations.”
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