Rescinded [2009-04-01] - Policy on Responsibilities and Organization for Comptrollership

To ensure that the division of responsibilities and the financial management organization in the federal government support comptrollership.
Date modified: 1996-04-10

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1. Effective date

The present document contains the policy as approved on February 22, 1996. It cancels Chapter 1-3 of the "Financial Management" volume of the Treasury Board Manual, dated December 31, 1991. It also cancels sections 2.3 and 2.4, and Chapter 3 of the Guide on Financial Administration for Departments and Agencies of the Government of Canada, consolidated revision, April 1991.

2. Definition

Comptrollership (fonction de contrôleur) - comprises the essential, integrated business processes that must be in place in any organization to:

  • manage financial risks;
  • understand the financial implications of decisions before they are taken;
  • report on financial results; and
  • protect against fraud, financial negligence, violation of financial rules or principles, and losses of assets or public money.

For more details on the definition, please consult the Treausury Board Secretariat Publications noted in the References section of this policy.

3. Policy objective

To ensure that the division of responsibilities and the financial management organization in the federal government support comptrollership.

4. Policy statement

It is government policy that departments exercise sound comptrollership, and that the Comptroller General provide them with direction, advice and information.

5. Application

This policy applies to all organizations considered to be departments under section 2 of the Financial Administration Act (FAA).

6. Policy requirements

  1. Deputy heads must designate a Senior Financial Officer (SFO). The Senior Financial Officer must have a direct reporting relationship to the deputy head. Depending on the size of the organization, the Senior Financial Officer may delegate his or her authority for key financial responsibilities to a Senior Full-time Financial Officer (SFFO).
  2. The Senior Financial Officer must devise and implement a financial management organization and processes in the department that will lay the foundations for good comptrollership.
  3. The Senior Financial Officer must work with managers at all levels in the organization to ensure that they exercise their comptrollership responsibilities properly.
  4. The Comptroller General, on behalf of the Treasury Board, must establish and communicate an efficient and effective policy framework for financial management in support of comptrollership in departments.
  5. The Comptroller General must establish a monitoring and review function to support departments in carrying out their own assessments of comptrollership. This function will also obtain reasonable assurance for the Treasury Board that departments understand the comptrollership requirements and are properly implementing them.
  6. The Comptroller General must designate a Deputy Comptroller General.

7. Procedural requirements

  1. Departments must include Senior Financial Officers when developing and implementing new programs or major projects, or when making changes to existing programs that will have or are likely to have material financial implications. This will ensure that departments assess financial risks, respect financial authorities, and implement efficient and effective financial controls before programs are put into operation. The Senior Financial Officers must draw on government resources that are available to assist in the planning of programs.
  2. In the event that a Senior Financial Officer is convinced that an action his or her deputy head is proposing will create significant financial risk or will violate either the spirit or the form of the financial requirements of any legislation, regulation or government policy, he or she must make every effort to persuade the deputy head to follow a different course. As part of these efforts, the Senior Financial Officer must seek the opinion and advice of the Deputy Comptroller General.
  3. If the deputy head does not accept the advice offered by the Senior Financial Officer, then the Senior Financial Officer must request that the deputy head seek the advice of the Comptroller General before taking a final decision. The deputy head must then discuss the matter with the Comptroller General.

8. Monitoring

  1. Departments must conduct reviews of financial management accountability on an on-going basis.
  2. These reviews are designed to provide assurance to deputy heads that:
    • their managers deliver programs giving due consideration to obtaining the best possible value from public resources;
    • their managers make decisions in light of timely, relevant and reliable financial information, analysis and advice;
    • cost-effective controls, suitable to the government environment, are in place to safeguard assets and to ensure probity;
    • transactions are authorized before they are entered into;
    • their managers understand and report appropriately on their financial accountability; and
    • the financial management organization, systems and processes meet the department's current needs.
  3. The Comptroller General will use his or her discretion in deciding whether to intervene on a strategic basis in the development and implementation of new programs or major projects, or in the material modification of existing programs.
  4. In the event that a department excludes the Senior Financial Officer when designing or implementing a new program or major project, or when making material modifications to an existing program, or in the event that the Senior Financial Officer is experiencing conflict with his or her department, the Comptroller General and the Treasury Board Secretariat may intervene, at the discretion of the Comptroller General. The intervention could include formally expressing concern to the department, meeting with the parties and acting as a mediator, or demanding that the Senior Financial Officer be included. If the intervention fails to produce satisfactory results, the Comptroller General must inform the Treasury Board and seek its advice on possible courses of action.

9. References

9.1 Authority

This policy is issued pursuant to the Financial Administration Act, sections 6(3) and 7(1)(a).

9.2 Treasury Board Secretariat Publications

Financial Management Accountability in Departments and Agencies, Treasury Board, 1991.

Financial Management Accountability, a Questionnaire for Managers, Treasury Board, 1991.

10. Enquiries

Enquiries concerning this policy should be directed to your departmental headquarters. For interpretation of this policy, headquarters may contact:

Financial and Contract Management Sector
Financial and Information Management Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R5

Telephone: (613) 957-7233
Facsimile: (613) 952-9613

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