Auditor General outlines performance, goals and priorities

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Victoria: Carol Bellringer, B.C.’s auditor general, has released the Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia’s 2017-18 annual report and financial statements.

The report provides an overview of the office’s performance last year, as well as a look ahead at its current goals and priorities.

“Every year, we conduct the largest financial audit in the province, which takes approximately 40,000 hours of work,” said Bellringer. “Last year, we produced 40 financial audit reports, seven performance audit reports and seven information reports and plans.”

Performance audit topics from last year include grizzly bear management, recruitment and retention of rural and remote nurses, budget forecasting, and IT security measures at the Regional Transportation Management Centre. The office also published a report on B.C.’s management of climate change risks, which was part of a collaborative audit report on climate change action in Canada and involved most provinces and territories.

In 2017, the office received additional funding to become BC Hydro’s financial auditor in 2020. Given the financial magnitude of BC Hydro, and the extent to which government provides direction to BC Hydro, and the fact that it touches most people in B.C., the office will have greater oversight of this Crown corporation.

Also new for the office last year was an Indigenous relations strategy. The office is working with Indigenous advisors to provide staff with a greater understanding of reconciliation. The strategy is intended to educate staff about protocols and engagement, to ensure the office develops and maintains respectful and reciprocal relations with its Indigenous partners.

“Over the past year, we made a concerted effort in our challenging labour market to decrease our staff vacancy rate. We had 14 vacancies at the end of 2016-17, and just eight at the end of 2017-18,” said Bellringer. “The positions that remain unfilled are largely because it’s been challenging to recruit qualified people directly into our specialized roles.”

The annual report and financial statements are available on the Office of the Auditor General’s website: www.bcauditor.com