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Departmental Audit Committee

Introduction

The Veterans Affairs Canada Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) was established in 2008. The Departmental Audit Committee is an independent committee comprised of three external members who work with the Deputy Minister, providing advice and recommendations; to ensure that an internal audit capacity exists that meets the needs of the Department.

What is a Departmental Audit Committee?

Most federal departments and agencies are required to establish an independent departmental audit committee under the Treasury Board Policy on Internal Audit. These committees are required to have a majority of external members who have been recruited from outside of the federal public administration.

Appointed DAC members are seasoned professionals with high-level business management skills and experience who provide objective advice and recommendations to the Deputy Minister on core areas of departmental management, control and accountability.

About Departmental Audit Committees

Departmental audit committees are essential to the Government of Canada’s efforts to ensure the stewardship and accountability of public funds.

All deputy ministers of large departments (all departments other than those designated as small departments and agencies) are responsible for establishing an independent departmental audit committee for their department. These committees provide deputy ministers with advice and review of their department’s spending control and accountability processes to assist in reducing risks and improving the department’s performance.

Mandate

Each departmental audit committee is responsible for establishing a charter that outlines the committee’s responsibilities and assists in the planning and performance of its work. This document is also used when monitoring and reviewing work performed by VAC management to obtain reasonable assurances about the fundamental activities of the Department.

The DAC, under the leadership of the Chair and in consultation with the Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), is also required to prepare an annual planning calendar to ensure that all areas of responsibility are reviewed.

The following elements of work are to be addressed and used as a basis for its annual planning:

  1. Values and ethics
  2. Risk management
  3. Management control framework
  4. Internal audit function
  5. Office of the Auditor General and central agencies
  6. Follow-up on management action plans
  7. Financial statements and public accounts reporting
  8. Risk and accountability reporting

Each DAC must also prepare an annual report to assess the department’s internal control and internal audit systems, as well as to document any concerns.

Operations of the Departmental Audit Committee

The role, responsibilities, and operations of each departmental audit committee are to be documented in a terms of reference or charter that is approved by the Deputy Minister. This document is reviewed periodically by the Deputy Minister in consultation with other DAC members.

The DAC Chair will prepare, and present to other members, an annual plan to ensure that the ongoing responsibilities of the committee are scheduled and fully addressed.

The DAC meets at least four times a year and plans their meetings one year in advance so that departmental management and auditors can prepare the information and reports required to support the committee’s work.

Members of the Departmental Audit Committee

References

Biographies

Bruce Hirst, Departmental Audit Committee Chair

Bruce Hirst

An experienced financial professional and corporate services consultant as well as an Executive Coach, Bruce Hirst is the former CFO and Assistant Deputy Minister Corporate Services for a Security Agency of the Federal Government. Prior to this appointment in 2011, Bruce was Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for London Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Health Care, one of Ontario’s largest health care complexes.

Prior to entering the Health Care industry, Bruce had an extensive career in the federal public service, where he held a number of senior level positions. In 2008 he was appointed the Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer of the department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, a $2.5 billion department with 160 embassies and missions worldwide. During the period 2002 to 2008, Bruce was Director General Finance at Natural Resources Canada, a science-based department conducting research and funding private sector initiatives to foster development and protect Canada’s resources. From 1992 to 2002, Bruce held positions of increasing responsibility in the Office of the Comptroller General and the Treasury Board of Canada.

Before entering the Public Service, Bruce spent a successful career in the Canadian Navy holding senior level positions in the finance, procurement and human resource areas, including special advisor to the Deputy Minister and Chief of the Defence Staff.

Bruce holds an honours BA from the University of Windsor, an MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Staff College. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant and on the Board of Directors of several organizations.

Hans Jung, Departmental Audit Committee Member

Hans Jung

Commodore Jung completed his medical degree in 1984 at the University of Toronto. He received his Master of Arts in Leadership from the Royal Roads University in 2005. Commodore Jung retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after 31 years of service as Surgeon General and Commander of Canadian Forces Health Service Group. In his semi-retired role, he runs a Veterans Medical Clinic providing direct health care to retired CAF members and RCMP in Ottawa.

Among the achievements, he is very proud to be the "father" of Physician Assistants in Canada having been the lead in introducing this profession to Canada based on the military Physician Assistant profession in the Canadian Armed Forces. Under his leadership, his team was instrumental in the development and implementation of a comprehensive mental health program, reduction in stigma in the military and the development of a network of rehabilitation program for combat amputees through partnership with civilian centers of expertise in rehabilitation. Under his tenure, the CAF healthcare system was the first pan Canadian primary and ambulatory care system to be accredited by Accreditation Canada, encompassing over 42 different clinical sites across Canada. He was also the executive champion that delivered a fully operational bilingual electronic health information system with a PACS to the CF that is connected across Canada and overseas including at sea on board Canadian war ships, a first in Canada. He was also the conceptual developer of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Healthcare Research, a consortium engaging over 40 Canadian universities.

Commodore Jung, being of Korean heritage, was the first and only Canadian of visible minority group to become the Surgeon General and a general/flag officer in the Canadian Forces history.

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