Auditor General By-Law>
Auditor General By-Law
Under the Municipal Act, 2001 (the Act), municipalities have authority to appoint various statutory officers to carry out certain functions as described in the legislation. At the City of Ottawa, the Auditor General (established further to Council’s approval in September 2003) is one of three statutory officers that report directly to City Council, along with the City Manager and Integrity Commissioner. The Statutory Officer Recruitment, Appointment and Contract Administration Policy and Procedures are used for recruiting, appointing and administering the contracts for these positions.
The Auditor General “reports to council and is responsible for assisting the council in holding itself and its administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds and for achievement of value for money in municipal operations,” pursuant to Subsection 223.19(1) of the Act. This same subsection authorizes a municipality to appoint the Auditor General. Subsection 223.19(1.1) of the Act provides that the Auditor General “shall perform his or her responsibilities … in an independent manner.”
The Auditor General By-law No. 2021-5 establishes this position and the duties of Auditor General, including its statutory powers.
The Auditor General’s mandate, as outlined in the Auditor General By-law No. 2021-5, Section 6 subsection (1) states that: “the Auditor General shall be responsible for assisting City Council in holding itself and its administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds and for the achievement of value for money in municipal operations”. The by-law further outlines a limitation on the authority of the Auditor General. Section 6, subsection (6) states that: “the Auditor General shall not call into question or review the merits of the policies and objectives of Council”.
In light of the express wording set out in Subsection 6(6) of the By-law, the Auditor General specifically questioned how she, as the City’s statutory Auditor General, could assist Council in “holding itself and its administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over public funds”, if she could not call in to question decisions made by Council throughout the course of the audits conducted by the Office of the Auditor General. As a Statutory Officer, at arm’s length from the City’s administration, and established pursuant to Part V.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001, she sought an external legal opinion on this matter to ensure she was properly fulfilling her duties as Auditor General. Please see below for details.
An audit charter is a formal document that defines an audit function’s purpose, authority, responsibility and position within an organization. The OAG created an audit charter to supplement the Auditor General By-law and ensure that all aspects of the Institute of Internal Auditors’ Standards are addressed and communicated to the Audit Committee.
For more information, please see the Audit Charter.
The City of Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner is another of the City’s accountability officers. The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for the oversight and administration of codes of conduct for Members of Council and members of the City’s boards, application of sections 5, 5.1 and 5.2 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, oversight and administration of the Lobbyist Registry By-law and investigating complaints respecting closed meetings. More information about the Integrity Commission’s role can be found on the City of Ottawa’s website.
The Auditor General and the Integrity Commissioner have documented terms for consulting one another and sharing information, as appropriate, in a Memorandum of Understanding.