AGLG Legislative Amendments Introduced

Bill 36 – Auditor General for Local Government Amendment Act was introduced in the Legislature on September 28th, 2015. 

The provincial government signalled that legislative amendments would be introduced during the fall session when the report from the Independent Review was released in the spring.

In announcing the introduction of this Bill the Province stated it is intended to do the following:

  • Clarify the terms and conditions of employment for the AGLG;
  • Strengthen the audit council’s authority to review and monitor the performance of the AGLG;
  • Enhance the minister’s authority to review the AGLG Act  and the functioning of the office; and,
  • Require that the AGLG consult with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities prior to developing the performance audit program.

In brief, the proposed amendments include:

  • Removing the requirement that the AGLG be authorized to be an auditor of a company under Section  205 of the Business Corporations Act but making this a requirement for the Deputy AGLG.
  • A requirement that a AGLG appointment must now be made under the Public Service Act.
  • Provision that upon recommendation of the Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development, the Lieutenant Governnor in Council may, with or without cause, order that the AGLG be suspended, with or without remuneration, or removed.
  • A statement that in making the above recommendation the Minister will consider a recommendation, if any, by the Audit Council.  The words “if any” were not included in the original AGLG Act.
  • Provision that the AGLG may provide information to a law enforcement agency if they believe an offence has been committed.
  • Additional option for the Audit Council to secure support resources.  Currently the AGLG Act provides that ministry staff resources may be provided to assist the Audit Council.  The amendments add the option for the Audit Council to  retain persons for this purpose (subject to approval of the Deputy Minister).
  • Opportunities for the Audit Council to review and provide comment on the AGLG office’s budget and programs.
  • Provision that before preparing an Annual Service Plan, the AGLG must consult with UBCM respecting themes on which some or all audits must be based.
  • Requirement that the Minister must begin a review of the Act five years after the Act has been in force.

UBCM will monitor this legislation as it proceeds through the Legislature. We will be particularly interested in the sections of the legislation that impact the Audit Council as we see the independence of this Council as very important. 

In August UBCM released a report titled Auditor General for Local Government: Perspectives on Operations, that summarized the findings of the UBCM survey of audited communities.  Prior to Convention UBCM followed up and presented our findings to the Minister and to the Audit Council.

At the 2015 UBCM Convention the following resolution was adopted:

“That UBCM call on the Province to eliminate the Auditor General for Local Government due to the fact that the requirements of such an office are already met under existing local government legislation and regulations.”

Also at Convention, Minister Fassbender announced the appointment of Mr. Gordon Ruth, the new AGLG and his intention to add two additional positions (with local govenrment experience) to the Audit Council.

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