Whitehorse – The Standing Committee on Public Accounts of the Yukon Legislative Assembly held two public hearings on Wednesday, December 11, 2019: one on an audit of kindergarten to grade 12 education in Yukon and another on the Yukon Public Accounts.
First Ever Hearing on Yukon Public Accounts
While the Public Accounts are always referred to the Committee by the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Orders, this marked the first time since the committee was first created in October 1979 that a hearing was held on the Yukon Public Accounts. In her opening statement, Chris Mahar, Deputy Minister of the Department Finance, described the Public Accounts as “over 400 pages of numbers and facts that together tell the story of what the Government of Yukon did in the past fiscal year to get from where it was to where it is. This document … unlike the budget, is the true tale of government spending…” Ms. Mahar, the Comptroller, and officials from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada appeared as witnesses and answered questions from committee members.
The Office of the Auditor General of Canada commended the Committee on examining the government’s financial statements. Karen Hogan, Assistant Auditor General, said during the hearing “The Committee’s review of the Public Accounts is a significant step in ensuring accountability for how public funds are spent and how government finances are reported.”
Hearing on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education
The topic of the other hearing was a performance audit from the Auditor General of Canada, released on June 18, 2019:
• Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the Legislative Assembly of Yukon – Kindergarten Through Grade 12 Education in Yukon – Department of Education
In the report, the Auditor General looked at whether the Department of Education’s programs met the needs of students. The report highlighted gaps in student outcomes between First Nations and other students, problems with the delivery of services and supports to students with special needs, and a lack of culturally inclusive programming in schools.
Along with officials from the Office of the Auditor General, witnesses from the Department of Education appeared at the hearing to answer questions from the committee.
The Committee is following up with the departments to answer some remaining questions and then the Committee will draft its reports. The Public Accounts Committee will write reports about both public hearings. In its reports, the Committee may make observations and recommendations based on both the Auditor General’s reports and the evidence provided by the government departments. The reports are expected to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly during the 2020 Spring Sitting.
The transcripts and audio recordings of the public hearings are now available on the Public Accounts Committee’s webpage at: https://yukonassembly.ca/committees/pac
Additional supporting documents provided by the departments are also available on the page.