Language selection

2020–21 AEC annual report to the Commissioner of lobbying

Table of contents


OCL’s Audit and Evaluation Committee (AEC) continues to be an active component of the Office’s governance and stewardship regime. AEC provides objective advice and recommendations to the Commissioner on a full range of management issues as well as on the adequacy and functioning of the Office’s governance, risk management, and control frameworks and processes. AEC is accountable to the Commissioner.

Pursuant to its Terms of Reference, the Committee prepares an annual report to the Commissioner. The purpose of the annual report of the Audit and Evaluation Committee is to:

  • summarize the Committee's key activities undertaken and the overall results of its review;
  • provide the Committee's assessment of the Office's system of internal controls;
  • highlight significant concerns the Committee may have in relation to the risk management, controls and governance framework and processes of the Office;
  • provide the Committee's advice regarding issues related to internal audit, program evaluation and performance measurement;
  • provide, as needed, recommendations for the improvement of risk management, controls and governance framework and processes, including recommendations for the improvement of internal audit and program evaluation at the Office; and
  • provide such other information that the Committee deems important to best convey a high-level summary of its activity and results.


The Committee is an advisory body to the Commissioner. It provides the Commissioner with independent, objective guidance, advice and assurance regarding risk management, the control framework, audit, evaluation, performance measurement and reporting practices.

The work of the Committee is informed by Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) / Office of the Comptroller General (OCG) policies in these areas. The Committee carries out its responsibilities through the thoughtful and rigorous implementation of its Terms of Reference.


During the fiscal year 2020-21, AEC consisted of three external members and the Commissioner, as an ex-officio member. Mr. Michael J. McLaughlin, FCPA, FCMA, Mr. Michael Nelson, B.A.Sc., M.B.A., and Mr. Alan Winberg, Ph.D., C.E. (Committee Chair) continued to serve as external members. Mr. Winberg completed his term as a member of the Committee at its September 2020 meeting. Mr. McLaughlin accepted the role of Committee Chair and the Committee continued with two External Members.

The Commissioner and the External Members of the Committee thank Mr. Winberg for his service to the OCL and his leadership as Committee Chair.

Committee member biographies are available on the OCL website.

Qualifications of members

The collective skills, knowledge and experience of the AEC members are such that the Committee is able to competently and effectively undertake its duties. The Members of the AEC are independent and free of any real or perceived conflict of interest.

Meetings held

Pursuant to its Terms of Reference and the guidance issued by the OCG, AEC meets in regular sessions, as well as in-camera.

In the fiscal year beginning April 1, 2020 and ending March 31, 2021, the AEC met on the following dates: June 16, 2020; August 19, 2020; September 23, 2020; October 14, 2020; January 14, 2021; and, February 25, 2021.

At the meeting that was held September 23, 2020, Members met with officials of Office of the Auditor General (OAG) to review and discuss the results of their annual audit of the OCL financial statements.

Responsibilities and duties

Terms of Reference

The AEC Terms of Reference identifies the roles and responsibilities of the Committee. The AEC Terms of Reference are available on the OCL website.

Orientation to the work of the Office

In the course of attending meetings of this Committee, reviewing OCL documentation and operations, and providing advice to the Commissioner, external members have acquired a deep knowledge and understanding with respect to the issues facing OCL. In view of the ongoing meetings and deliberations of the Committee, members of AEC feel that they have a very good knowledge of the operations of the Office, the overall workplace environment, the key public policy issues related to the Lobbying Act, and the key risks and day-to-day risk mitigation strategies in place in the Office.

AEC Annual Plan

The Chair presented a set of dates for meetings planned over the next fiscal year and a planned agenda for each of those meetings, based on the agendas we have used in past years. In view of the public health guidance in place to address COVID-19 issues, a series of AEC meetings are expected to be held over the next twelve months, using a mix of teleconference, videoconference or face-to-face meetings to discuss and provide advice to the Commissioner with regard to the areas of responsibility set out in the Terms of Reference. The Committee has the practice of confirming the dates of each of our meetings 12 months into the future. This forward planning has worked well to date.

The dates planned for our future meetings are:

  • Tuesday April 29, 2021 (meeting was held as planned via teleconference)
  • Thursday, June 10, 2021 (Teleconference is planned)
  • Thursday, July 15, 2021 (Date to be confirmed, includes OAG meeting)
  • Thursday, October 14, 2021
  • Thursday, January 13, 2022

AEC Self-Assessment

Pursuant to our Terms of Reference and consistent with guidelines issued by the OCG, each year we plan to undertake a self-assessment. We discussed our 2020-2021 self-assessment May 19, 2021. As set out in the Committee's Terms of Reference, we have adopted the practice of reporting the results of this self-assessment in a confidential report to the Commissioner.

2020-21 highlights

We are honoured to continue to provide advice to the Commissioner as she carries out her mandate.

Our work over the past year noted the ongoing application of measures in regard to governance, risk management, accountability and control. Over the past 12 months, we have provided advice to the Commissioner regarding these matters, including emerging initiatives and priorities.

Support and advice to the Commissioner

We provided the Commissioner with our advice with regard to internal audit, external audit by the Auditor General, program evaluation, performance measurement, risk management, implementation of the strategic plan for the Office, and departmental plans, financial, and management issues. We monitored developments related to the Covid-19 pandemic as OCL adapted to an exceptional, operating environment, and still managed to deliver its mandate.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AEC was vigilant on an expanded range of issues during the year and reviewed its agendas and priorities accordingly. In particular, the AEC reviewed business continuity considerations and the monitoring of effective internal controls taking into account changes as a result of any modified procedures, increased cyber security and data privacy issues, and remote working of staff. At the same time, the AEC remained firmly focused on its fundamental responsibilities with respect to the oversight of financial reporting and internal controls, which have additional complexities arising from the crisis.

Reviewing and providing timely advice on corporate reports

We provided timely review of financial and corporate reports, including financial statements, Quarterly Financial Reports, Estimates reports (DP and DRR), Public Accounts, and other performance reporting.

Advice regarding financial statements and accounting issues

We provided timely independent advice to the Commissioner and the Chief Financial Officer on technical matters related to financial statements, and accounting issues.

Advice regarding resourcing challenges

We provided timely independent advice with regard to resourcing challenges faced by the Office for continued effective and efficient operations. With regard to the lack of resources faced by the Office for critical matters, including the ongoing effective functioning of the registry, we provided advice regarding securing a source of funds in Budget 2021 and a submission to Treasury Board.

In-camera sessions

At in-camera sessions we reviewed documentation, met with the Chief Financial Officer and senior managers, discussed accountability reporting and organizational issues and provided advice to the Commissioner.

Key issues to be considered over the coming year

During the course of our work over the next 12 months, the Committee will continue to fulfill its terms of reference, including the implementation of new resources included in Budget 2021 and adapting to Covid-19, and the work underway to implement the priorities of the Commissioner as noted in the three-year strategic plan for the Office.

The Committee plans to provide advice to the Commissioner with regard to:

  • the planning and/or implementation of the priorities and initiatives noted in the Commissioner's strategic plan;
  • the preparation for a potential legislative review of the Lobbying Act and the implementation of a revised Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct;
  • the limited amount of resources, and steps to secure appropriate budgets to advance priorities and initiatives;
  • the new operating environment, carefully implementing the public health guidance related to Covid-19;
  • the planning, implementation and reporting of internal audits, program evaluations, and other review matters;
  • information management and information technology; and,
  • the performance measures used and reported by the Office.

In addition to delivering on its formal mandate, in-camera meetings with the Commissioner, Chief Financial Officer, and OCL executives provide an opportunity for the AEC to serve as a sounding board for the Commissioner on issues, initiatives, and priorities where the AEC members can provide advice or a unique external perspective.


Our work has been made easier by the strong working relationship with you and your executive team. We would like to thank all of your executive team for their thoughtful participation in AEC meetings, and for their support and collaboration.

The Committee wishes to note the significant work completed by the Office to establish its systems and structures and to have operations running well. The Office has demonstrated professionalism and adaptability in order to achieve continuity in fulfilment of its mandate during the disruptions created to date by the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to be impressed by the dedication of the Office to sound management practices, and to its careful and thoughtful management of its limited financial resources and people. We are of the view that OCL is managing well its limited budget.

We look forward to continuing our excellent relationship and to offering independent and objective advice, guidance and assurance to the Commissioner on the adequacy of risk management, control and accountability processes for the important work carried out by the Office.

We are proud of the role we play in supporting and strengthening stewardship in the Office and are pleased to have been able to contribute over the past year. As you continue to implement the strategic priorities, and take steps to secure the incremental resources which are required to maintain efficient and effective operations, we will be ready to respond to any requests for advice and support that you deem important.

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:
Date modified: