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Audit and Evaluation Committee (AEC)

Terms of reference

The terms of reference document the role, responsibilities and operation of the Audit and Evaluation Committee.

AEC annual reports

Each year, the Chair of the committee provides the Commissioner of Lobbying with a report on the activities of the Audit and Evaluation Committee.


The Audit and Evaluation Committee is comprised of two external members and the Commissioner of Lobbying.

Current members

Michael Nelson, Chair

Michael Nelson began his career as an engineering officer in the Canadian Forces. In 1980, he left the military and joined the federal Public Service.

During his career he was involved in the research, writing and production of two public administration books authored by Gordon Osbaldeston (former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Federal Cabinet), Keeping Deputy Ministers Accountable, and Organizing to Govern. Michael later held senior appointments in the federal government, including Group Chief at Treasury Board Secretariat, where he was responsible for federal government policies in information management, access to information, privacy, security, communications and federal identity; Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Forces Housing Agency; Vice-President at the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC); and Assistant Deputy Minister, Comptrollership and Administration Sector at Industry Canada.

Michael was appointed Registrar of Lobbyists for the Government of Canada in 2004. During his time in that position he chaired an international symposium on lobbying legislation in France led by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Michael retired from the federal public service in 2008 and is currently President of S.A.G.E. Consulting Inc.

Michael is a graduate in Applied Science from the Royal Military College of Canada and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Ottawa. He is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Basia Ruta, CPA, CA

With a broad-based career of over 40 years, Basia has significant expertise in operations including start-ups, scale ups and major transformation, as well as in leading corporate functions in finance, administration, performance audit, risk management, strategic planning and governance in both the public and private sectors. Basia’s career choices reflect a deep passion in serving the public interest.

Since 2015, Basia has been working with a wide network of experts, providing advisory services to small and medium-sized enterprises, not-for-profits and governments. She helps organizations troubleshoot issues, run operations, scale, transform, grow, prosper, create value and make a difference. She has served as Interim Treasurer, Part-time Chief Financial Officer and Special Advisor, including in response to COVID-19. She has also led capacity building training programs in human resource performance audits for a foreign government through the Institute of Public Administration of Canada and the United Nations. In addition, she has been helping families and their commercial enterprises navigate the complexities of Powers of Attorney and Estate matters.

Prior to 2015, Basia held positions at the most senior levels in government, including as British Columbia’s Auditor General for Local Government, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Environment Canada, Assistant Comptroller General, Internal Audit across federal departments and Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Customs. For many years, she also led financial and performance audits at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. Basia is Founder and CEO of OnPoint Ruta Consulting Ltd. She holds a Professional Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA) designation. She has been certified as a Chartered Director and is an Executive-in- Residence at the Sprott School of Business. Her contributions also include being published as a Chapter Author in audit and evaluation reference texts (published 2020).

Nancy Bélanger, Commissioner of Lobbying

Nancy Bélanger was appointed Commissioner of Lobbying by both houses of Parliament in late 2017, for a seven-year term.

Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she was Deputy Commissioner, Legal Services and Public Affairs with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC), a position she held until 2017. She initially joined the OIC in 2013, as General Counsel and Director of Legal Services. She also spent six years as General Counsel with the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

Throughout her career, she held positions with the Department of Justice, was Executive Officer to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, and a Senior Legal Advisor with the Immigration and Refugee Board. She joined the federal Public Service in 1993 as a Law Clerk with the Federal Court of Canada.

Ms. Bélanger holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws from the University of Ottawa, and is a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Ms. Bélanger is a fluently bilingual communicator with extensive leadership experience and legal expertise.

Former members

Michael J. McLaughlin (term ended Feb. 2022)

Mr. McLaughlin was the Deputy Auditor General of Canada when he retired from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada in 2002 after 32 years of public service. He held the position of Deputy Auditor General of Canada from 1997 to 2002, where he was responsible for the overall management of the Office including Audit Operations, and was the Senior Financial Officer.

Mr. McLaughlin began his career in 1971 working as a Management Analyst for Veterans Affairs. In 1973, he joined Canada Post where he advanced to the position of Manager of Corporate Planning. From 1979 to 2002, Mr. McLaughlin worked in the Office of the Auditor General of Canada in progressively senior roles. As an Audit Principal, Mr. McLaughlin was responsible for audits of External Affairs, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC). He later became an Assistant Auditor General with responsibility for the Montreal Regional Office including audits of VIA Rail, the Business Development Bank of Canada and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

During 2002 and 2003, Mr. McLaughlin held the position of President/Executive Director at CCAF-FCVI, a private foundation dedicated to research and training in the area of accountability and performance auditing. On resigning this position, he was elected to the Board of Governors and served as the Chair of the Board from 2005 to 2009.

Michael McLaughlin joined CATSA (Canadian Air Transport Security Authority) on April 1, 2003 as Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). This new Crown Corporation was in its start-up phase, establishing its programs and procedures. He retired from CATSA on December 31, 2006 and is now an independent consultant.

BSc (Honours) — Carleton University 1971
Certified Management Accountant 1989 — Society of Management Accountants
Advanced Management Program 1992 — Canadian Centre for Management Development

Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants FCMA 2004
The Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal 2002

Volunteer Activities:
Board of Governors CCAF-FCVI (2004–2009)
Board of Directors Carleton Golf and Yacht Club (2001–2005) (2006–current)

Alan R. Winberg, Ph.D. (term ended Sept. 2020)

Alan Winberg began his consulting practice in June 2007, after 30 years of distinguished service in the Public Service of Canada. His practice includes Strategic Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Risk Management, Performance Measurement, Program Evaluation and Internal Audit. He has a wide experience and understanding of government programs, having held senior positions in Treasury Board Secretariat, large operating departments, and small agencies.

From December 2004 to May 2007, Mr. Winberg was Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Indian Claims Commission, responsible for its day-to-day operations. The Commission carried out inquiries into Indian specific claims, provided mediation services for claims accepted for negotiation and carried out public education activities.

From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Winberg was the Senior Visiting Fellow, Public Management at the Canada School of Public Service. Mr. Winberg contributed to developing the federal government's Management Accountability Framework and to improving management training for federal public servants.

From 1999 to 2002, Alan Winberg was Assistant Deputy Minister of Financial and Administrative Services, Human Resources Development Canada. He guided the department in all matters related to sound financial and administrative management. During this period, the department came under intense scrutiny for its management of grant and contribution programs. He led significant change management initiatives to improve organizational design and accountability for results. As Senior Financial Officer, he played a key role in change management initiatives implemented for Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan and the Canada Student Loan programs.

From 1989 to 1999, Mr. Winberg served in different Assistant Deputy Minister level positions with the Treasury Board Secretariat. He led government-wide initiatives to strengthen the risk management capacity of the federal government. He managed government-wide initiatives to strengthen planning, internal audit, performance measurement and reporting. He advanced the reform of federal procurement policies and practices (including all federal contracting) and improved management of federal assets, including real property and materiel assets. Mr. Winberg has worked in senior positions, involving policy formulation and operations at the National Energy Board, Natural Resources Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, and Consumer and Corporate Affairs. Prior to entering the public service, Mr. Winberg was a professor in the Management Faculty at the University of Ottawa.

Mr. Winberg earned his Bachelor degree in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and his Doctoral degree in Economics at the London School of Economics. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of a number of professional organizations and associations including Canada's National Quality Institute, the Performance and Planning Exchange of Canada, the Institute for Internal Audit and the Canadian Evaluation Society. Mr. Winberg served as President of the Canadian Evaluation Society from 1990 to 1992.

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