The Provincial Auditor Act

For the parliamentary system of government to work properly, it must have the public’s confidence. To merit this confidence, the Government’s programs must be effective, open, and accountable to the public. One important responsibility of the Legislative Assembly is to hold the Government of Saskatchewan accountable for its management of public resources. The Provincial Auditor Act is an Act respecting the Provincial Auditor and the Auditing of Certain Accounts

Key accountability mechanisms in the Act require the Provincial Auditor to:

  • Prepare and submit to the Committee key accountability documents—an annual business and financial plan, and an annual report on operations that includes audited financial statements[1]
  • Present to the Committee, for its review and approval, the Office’s annual funding request and supplementary estimates (if any)
  • Table with the Committee, for its information, the Office’s human resources and financial management policies, and quarterly financial forecasts
  • Use Canadian generally accepted assurance standards to carry out the Office’s audits
  • Be a member in good standing of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Saskatchewan, including maintaining firm and member licensing requirements for the provision of professional accounting services[2]

The Provincial Auditor Act provides the legislative framework for the independence of the Office and its staff. The framework enables the Provincial Auditor, the Office, and its staff to be independent of the Government and be able to exercise that independence—that is, make decisions without being affected by influences that would compromise their judgment.

For example, the Act:

  • Creates an independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly called the Provincial Auditor with the responsibility to audit all government agencies and report the results directly to the Legislative Assembly;
  • Ensures the Provincial Auditor is independent from elected and appointed officials including the Assembly’s committees and Boards;
  • Requires an order of the Legislative Assembly based on a unanimous recommendation of the Public Accounts Committee to appoint the Provincial Auditor for an eight-year, non-renewable term. The Public Accounts Committee is an all-party committee, chaired by a member of the opposition, which does not include Cabinet ministers;
  • Makes the Office’s employees part of the Legislative Branch of Government. They are neither part of the Executive Branch of Government nor members of the public service of Saskatchewan;
  • Requires the Public Accounts Committee to review the Office’s annual Business and Financial Plan and recommend the Office’s annual funding to the Assembly;
  • Gives the Provincial Auditor administrative independence—the power to administer, manage, and control the Office, its general business, as well as oversee and direct the Office’s staff. This includes the ability to decide which employees to hire and at what rate, and what audit work to do and how.

What is the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan?

The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan is vital to the parliamentary process where government power must be exercised through the Legislative Assembly and all laws must be introduced in the Assembly by a member elected by the people. 

The Legislative Assembly is assisted in its work in making government accountable and responsive to the public by way of various independent officers; the Office of the Provincial Auditor serves this purpose.

The Provincial Auditor Act creates an independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly called the Provincial Auditor. These Officers help to monitor government spending, assist individual citizens with concerns about government, and help Members of the Legislative Assembly avoid conflicts of interest.  The Act gives the Provincial Auditor the responsibility to audit all government agencies and report the findings to the Legislative Assembly. 

Each of the Officers of the Legislative Assembly is named in The Legislative Assembly Act, 2007, and they report directly to the Assembly through the Speaker.

How Does the Office of the Provincial Auditor help the Legislative Assembly?

The Legislative Assembly is the governing body. The Executive Government receives its powers and resources from the Legislative Assembly. Therefore, the Executive Government is accountable to the Assembly for the Government’s use of its powers and the resources entrusted to it. The Executive Government carries out this responsibility through a complex structure consisting of more than 250 organizations including ministries, Boards, commissions, Crown agencies, and Crown-controlled corporations.

The Office of the Provincial Auditor helps the Legislative Assembly hold the Government accountable for how it manages public resources. Our Office examines the Government’s management of public resources and reports our findings to the Legislative Assembly. Our examinations focus on the Government as a whole, on sectors or programs of government, and on individual government organizations.

We examine these organizations directly, or work with other auditors appointed by the Government. We report our findings directly to the Legislative Assembly through our annual and special reports. Special reports may be requested by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (PAC), the Legislative Assembly, Cabinet, or Crown and Central Agencies.

In addition, our Office assists the all-party Standing Committees on Public Accounts and Crown and Central Agencies to review our reports, the public accounts, and other reports. We also encourage discussion and debate on public sector management and accountability issues.

All our reports are public documents. Read them at Publications on our website.

[1] When the Assembly is not in session, Public Accounts Committee receives these reports upon their submission to the Speaker.

[2] The Provincial Auditor Act deems the Provincial Auditor a firm for the purposes of The Accounting Profession Act.