Resource Management Review

Internal audit report outlining results of the assessment of the Resource Management Review at Transport Canada.

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Background and purpose

The Department has implemented many improvements to strengthen resource management since Transport Canada undertook the Comprehensive Review directed by Treasury Board in 2016.

We carried out assessments of resource management practices in conjunction with other audit and evaluation work that focused on four Headquarters Safety and Security Programs (Marine Safety and Security, Rail Safety, Transportation of Dangerous Goods, and Civil Aviation).

Our objective was to identify improvements that have been made as well as opportunities to further strengthen resource management.

This report outlines our observations.

Our approach

Reviewed a variety of recommendations relating to resource management from:

  • Treasury Board’s Comprehensive Review
  • Internal Audit reports
  • Internal Control and Financial Reporting Assessment of Financial Budgeting and Forecasting conducted by Financial Management and Quality Control in 2017

Analyzed the past six years of financial and human resource related data for the program areas in scope, and shared this with Finance for the development of financial dashboards.

Reviewed relevant corporate and program planning and reporting call letters, policies, directives and guidelines, governance documents, communication materials and tools and templates.

Interviewed those responsible for planning in the four Safety and Security programs as well as those responsible for finance, human resources, and corporate planning and reporting in Corporate Services.

Participated in different working group meetings and training sessions to keep informed of ongoing changes in the Department.

Overall observations

Ongoing, continuous improvements as well as concrete plans for additional improvements were evident in our review.

Interviews and analysis confirmed that these efforts are yielding a necessary culture shift towards greater integration and, with it, the ability to better manage resources strategically.

The observations summarized below are a snapshot in time and are provided in the spirit of continuous improvement.



Summary of improvements

Opportunities for further improvement (Office of Primary Interest highlighted in bold)

Integrated planning and reporting process

The process starts earlier and is better supported by instructions, templates, defined Offices of Primary Interest, deliverables, timelines, etc.

ADMs have more prominence, authority and accountability.

There is greater emphasis on attributing resource plans to risks, results and priorities.

A business case process has been introduced for assessing pressure and innovation/experimental funding requests.

Communication has improved through monthly planner meetings, Assistant Deputy Minister meetings with Regional Directors General, etc.

Improve information flow to ensure all planners within the program areas have access to the planning information they need for effective resource management (senior management within the program areas)

Consider jointly reviewing the planning process to identify potential gaps or unnecessary duplication in the flow of communication and assignment of roles and responsibilities (Strategic Planning and Policy Integration, Corporate Planning and Reporting, Corporate Services Finance and Human Resources)

Consider developing a central repository which provides planners with key milestone deliverables with supporting templates, tasks, and timelines (Corporate Planning and Reporting)

Corporate Services support

Finance provides more support to help managers understand their financial status and situation.

There’s a bigger appetite to focus on people management and planning. 

Different types of dashboards (e.g. Finance Net Position, Human Resources People Management) with multi-year analysis were developed to support annual planning and in-year forecasting and reporting for each period.

New supporting tools and guidance have been recently deployed, e.g. Power BI, Investment Planning and Reporting Tool, Safety & Security Dashboard Manager’s Toolkit.

Document good business practices and provide clearer definitions of key financial terms (Finance)

Continue to increase HR’s engagement and strategic planning support to provide an "integrated" view for senior management (Human Resources)

Consider integrating HR planning with the Financial Management training (Finance and Human Resources)

Strengthen data validation and challenge function, especially data used for presentations to senior management and RMC (Finance, Human Resources, Contracting)

Capacity, capability and workforce

Financial management training sessions are provided to managers and administrative officers.

Corporate Planning and Reporting’s and Finance’s capacity to provide consistent support has stabilized.

Data analytics skills and capacity needs and gaps have been identified and actions are being taken to address them (e.g. Finance Net Position Dashboard training sessions, Power BI User Forum, Safety & Security Power BI Guide, etc.).

Continue to develop Financial Management Advisors and Human Resources Advisors to increase their capability and capacity to provide better strategic support to managers and to ensure the type and level of support is aligned to clients’ needs (Finance and Human Resources)

Develop a formal exit interview process for Financial Management Advisors and Human Resources Advisors to identify the reasons for departure to help develop customized retention, recruitment, and development strategies (Human Resources and Finance)

Soliciting feedback

Feedback from participants of the Mandatory Financial Management training is collected and analyzed.

Corporate Planning and Reporting meets monthly with planners and collects feedback re Integrated Planning Reporting process, and recently launched a post mortem survey to get direct feedback from planners and staff involved in planning (Note: survey results including lessons learned and next steps were presented at June Safety and Security Directors Integration Committee meeting).

Systematically collect feedback from managers and admin officers on their satisfaction with Corporate Services’ support (Finance, Human Resources, Contracting, etc.)

Consider how best to gather feedback on the Financial Management training to help identify specific program needs/ concerns/ challenges to better target Corporate Services actions (Finance and Corporate Planning and Reporting)

Identify the managers who continuously have resource management issues and develop action plans accordingly (Finance and Human Resources)


A series of changes made since the Comprehensive Review have significantly improved resource management.

It is too soon to assess the extent of the impact of some of the most recent changes but others may be real game changers in further strengthening resource management:

  • Power BI dashboards provide managers with a new ability to drill down into the details of their expenditures
  • The transition to Robotic Process Automation is providing early benefits by forcing an increased level of standardization that helps reduce the risk of errors, thus improving data quality, as well as efficiency gains

Management will address the improvement opportunities as part of their ongoing efforts to continuously strengthen resource management throughout Transport Canada.