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Ottawa, 27 October 2022—Today, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada (OAG) released its Commentary on the 2021–2022 Financial Audits. The report shows that the government’s pandemic response continued to have an impact on the consolidated financial statements, with about $76 billion spent or loaned during that fiscal year. This amount represents 16% of the government’s 2021–22 program expenses, compared with 49% in the previous year. The government has also begun a multi-year process of identifying and collecting benefit payments it overpaid or made to ineligible recipients.
The commentary report highlights the results of the financial audits conducted in federal organizations for the fiscal years ended between 31 July 2021 and 30 April 2022. Overall, the financial statements of audited organizations were credible, and the OAG provided the Government of Canada with an unmodified audit opinion on its 2021–22 consolidated financial statements.
The report also shows that issues in the internal controls of the federal government pay system, Phoenix, are ongoing. Based on sampling, 28% of employees had an error in their basic pay or acting pay this year, compared with 47% last year. While this is an improvement, the percentage of errors is still high and a concern.
In addition, the number of outstanding pay action requests has increased since last year. This includes requests totalling more than $500 million in overpayments made to more than 100,000 employees. Further, about half of these requests have been outstanding for more than 3 years. The government needs to take steps to recover overpayments of salaries, wages, or employment-related allowances in a timely manner because legal limitation periods mean that certain recovery mechanisms may no longer be available to the government in its recovery efforts.
The Commentary on the 2021–2022 Financial Audits is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.
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