Responses to recommendations

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Government Response to:
The Thirteenth Report of The Standing Committee On Public Accounts

Involving Others in Governing: Accountability At Risk”


Alternative Service Delivery is the organisational and structural dimension of improving the delivery of programs and services to Canadians.

This objective is achieved by:

  • Establishing the appropriate organisational arrangements within departments (for example, a departmental service agency, or special operating agencies such as the Passport Office), outside traditional departmental structures (for example, Crown corporations such as Canada Post, or legislated service agencies such as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) or outside the public sector (for example, NavCan, local airports and ports authorities), in an effort to improve organisational performance and citizen-centred service delivery.

  • It also entails the bringing together of organisations from across government, among levels of governments, or across sectors through partnerships, single windows, co-locations, or clustering of services to citizens, to provide a more seamless and citizen-centred service for Canadians (for example, Service Canada or the Canada Business Service Centres).

As the Government increasingly employs innovative means to create more flexible arrangements in the pursuit of improved service delivery performance, it must balance the drive for innovation with the need to preserve the federal public service as a vibrant and coherent national institution, supporting democratic government and Ministerial accountability.

The Government supports innovation in service delivery to Canadians by actively promoting and facilitating optimum organisational performance through innovative organisational arrangements, where they make sense and when they serve the public interest.

Regardless of how government organises and structures the delivery of programs and services to Canadians, there are key policy considerations that must be addressed to determine whether any particular organisational innovation is in the public interest

For both ministers and officials, upholding the public interest means working under the democratically established rule of law to achieve a continuous balance among three things:

  • Ensuring fairness, equity and reasonableness of treatment to protect the broad interests of citizens;

  • Providing effective and responsive service to clients - those who benefit from a Government of Canada initiative, whatever it may be; and

  • Keeping a close eye on program affordability, cost-effectiveness and sound resource stewardship for the taxpayer.

The Government recognises that innovative organisational arrangements for service delivery to Canadians must also be balanced with Parliament’s, the Government’s and citizens’ needs for openness, transparency, visibility and accountability for the expenditure of public money and the achievement and reporting of results.

The Government sees merit in the Auditor General’s report, “Involving Others in Governing: Accountability at Risk” and agrees with the principles expressed in the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Thirteenth Report Tabled June 8th, 2000.


  • That new governance arrangements can be more flexible, efficient and effective but that the delivery of government programs and services entails a constant quest for balance between efficiency, results and adequate accountability.

  • That Treasury Board Secretariat take the lead in the following areas:

- developing and implementing a strengthened policy framework for ensuring the most appropriate governance, accountability and reporting relationships are in place for these arrangements;

- strengthening departmental reporting to Parliament on new governance arrangements;

- providing increased access to information on new governance arrangements to citizens, Parliament and departments, and;

- creating a credible centre of expertise for ASD initiatives and fostering a learning environment and culture across government,

The Government is committed to substantive actions that respect these principles. The following outlines some of the actions this Government is undertaking in support of these principles:

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