In her Report tabled today in the House of Commons, the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, calls Parliament's attention to two matters of special importance for good government that were raised in audits this year: the importance of good management information, and sustainable development strategies. The strategies are discussed in a report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, also tabled today.

" Fundamental to the success of any organization is knowing what information it needs, collecting it, and then using it to manage well," said Ms. Fraser.

Her chapter on military health care says that National Defence does not have complete information on the quality of the health care it provides for its Regular Forces personnel—63,500 men and women on 37 military sites across Canada and abroad—and some Reservists.

Another chapter notes that the Canada Border Services Agency has made significant investments in automated systems to identify high-risk travelers and shipments before they enter Canada. However, it has not yet assured itself that having more information available has resulted in better targeting and interception of high-risk goods and people for examination.

In her chapter Matters of Special Importance, the Auditor General also notes the persistence of significant weaknesses in sustainable development strategies, which the Commissioner has reported over the past decade. She says it is clear that the strategies are not encouraging departments to take environmental issues into account as originally envisioned when the government set the process in motion.

"I am pleased that the government has agreed with the Commissioner's recommendation to carry out a thorough review of its current approach to sustainable development strategies," said Ms. Fraser.

Other chapters in the Auditor General's Report tabled today are Safeguarding Government Information and Assets in Contracting; Management of the 2006 Census; Management and Control Practices in Three Small Entities; the Inuvialuit Final Agreement; and Technical Training and Learning at the Canada Revenue Agency.

Link to Report:

The chapter "Matters of Special Importance" and all other chapters of the Fall 2007 Report are available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site.