Lax reporting and risk controls found in aboriginal fishery program: audit
David Millette, director general of aboriginal policy and governance for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said audit requirements have since been tightened and streamlined under a new framework.
New risk management tools and training for program staff are also being introduced this year.
“ There’s always growing pains. It was a collaborative program where we had to work with recipients in order to roll it out properly.
“ There were glitches here and there — we were learning on both sides. But I just want to stress that the audit did not find any instances at all of any inappropriate use of funds or in reporting documentation submitted by the recipients.”
Audit demands are being consolidated under a new framework introduced last year, Millette said.
“One of the main rationales for this new umbrella is to reduce the burden of paperwork for the aboriginal people. Because many of them are involved in anywhere from three to five of our own programs, and there was duplication.
“ They were spending more time reporting than they were actually doing the work that had been required under the program itself.”
The program has helped create 23 native management boards with another nine in training, Millette said. They include Mi’kmaq and Maliseet groups in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Maritimes; Quebec Innu; Haida, Shuswap and Skeena groups in the Pacific region; and Dene and Metis participants in the Northwest Territories.
Traditional aboriginal knowledge is combined with non-native expertise to ensure an “integrated fishery,” Millette said.
The program, one of six aboriginal fisheries initiatives, has been expanded with a budget this year of about $13.2 million.
It has created more than 260 jobs in or near native communities across Canada, Millette said. They include aquatic habitat biologists, fisheries biologists, technical operating managers along with aquacul-