QUÉBEC, June 3, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Ms. Guylaine Leclerc, Auditor General of Québec, makes public the Report of the Sustainable Development Commissioner (Spring 2015). This report presents the observations of the Sustainable Development Commissioner, Mr. Jean Cinq-Mars, and the results of four value-for-money audits.
Observations of the Sustainable Development Commissioner (Chapter 1)
Mr. Jean Cinq-Mars especially focuses on the draft Government Sustainable Development Strategy 2015-2020. He notes that he prepared and presented a brief to the Commission des transports et de l'environnement, which contains a summary of the findings and recommendations made since 2007 concerning the strategy and the objectives of the Sustainable Development Act. In addition, the Commissioner presents several observations which came out of a study he conducted. In this study, he compared some characteristics of different approaches based on sustainable development principles used in other parts of the world with those of the approach used by the public administration in Québec. He notes, among other things, that Québec's approach comprises the largest number of principles (16), while some of the other approaches involve 4 to 10 principles. Furthermore, Mr. Cinq-Mars makes some observations regarding the implementation of the Sustainable Development Act in each of the audits he conducted.
Promotion of Healthy Eating as a Health Preventive Measure (Chapter 2)
Québec authorities have known about the problem of obesity and associated chronic diseases for a long time, as the first studies on the subject date back to 1977. However, the measures implemented have not prevented this problem from persisting and taking hold among the population of Québec. The Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) did not exercise the leadership required for the promotion of healthy eating. It did not implement an effective management framework with clear orientations and well-defined roles and responsibilities. This does not encourage coherent and efficient action by concerned government entities. Moreover, problems related to accessible healthy eating have been identified, but no specific action plan has been established by the MSSS to improve the situation. Among the problems identified is the presence of fast-food restaurants near schools.
Dams: Application of the Act with Regard to Safety and Operation (Chapter 3)
The Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC) did not succeed in ensuring compliance with the Act in the assessment of safety for high-capacity dams and the achievement of remedial measures that their owners must take. For example, by the end of the regulatory deadline, it has only received about 10% of completed files on safety assessment from dam owners. For nearly a quarter of the dams, it had still not received nothing six years later. Moreover, the MDDELCC has not established criteria meant to determine the essential nature of the dams for the State's mission and, for over half of the dams under its responsibility, their essential nature has not been demonstrated. In addition, while it is responsible for numerous dams, the Department has reduced the frequency of its monitoring activities and cannot ensure their maintenance. Furthermore, it does not comply with requirements for emergency action plans. For nearly 20% of dams, plans have not been produced or do not conform to requirements.
National Parks and Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Chapter 4)
The Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs framework documents concerning the conservation of national parks' natural heritage are outdated. Thus, the policy on national parks was adopted in 1982 and no longer really reflects reality. Moreover, the master plan required for each park is sometimes nonexistent or has never been finalized. The completed plans are on average 20 years old, and the 9 that have never been finalized, 23 years old. Furthermore, the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ) has defined and structured actions related to the conservation of natural heritage in the parks it operates, but these actions could be improved. It has established a conservation strategy, a conservation plan for each park and an ecological integrity monitoring program. However, it does not have a complete overview of the progress made for each action mentioned in the conservation plans. In matters of governance, the SEPAQ's board of directors should pay closer attention to ecological integrity monitoring and to the contract awarding process.
La Financière agricole du Québec: Measures to Assess Effectiveness and Performance (Chapter 5)
La Financière agricole du Québec (FADQ) uses several governance mechanisms to assess its effectiveness and performance. However, it is difficult to gain a comprehensive view of these two aspects using the monitored indicators. Indeed, the FADQ does not summarize the results for its different governance mechanisms. A large number of objectives, indicators and targets are measured, but assessment measures should be recentered on the most significant aspects. Moreover, the information used to assess the effectiveness and performance of the FADQ is presented to the board of directors periodically. However, it is not sufficiently put into context and summarized for the board to have an integrated vision of these two aspects. For example, there are very few ties between the indicators and strategic objectives, and very few explanations to put the results in context.
The Highlights are available at www.vgq.qc.ca. The full report is only available in French.
Lucie Roy, Director
Cabinet, communications et affaires stratégiques
Auditor General of Québec
Tel.: 418 691-5915
SOURCE Vérificateur Général du Québec
For further information: Lucie Roy, Director, Cabinet, communications et affaires stratégiques, Auditor General of Québec, Tel.: 418 691-5915