Industry Canada - Legal Services Unit
March 2012

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

1.1.1 The Industry Canada (IC) LSU provides primarily legal advisory services to all sectors of Industry Canada, with the exception of the Competition Bureau. Specialized practice areas are commercial law, corporate law, intellectual property, trade law, telecommunications, administrative law, criminal law, and bankruptcy and insolvency. The LSU is headed by a Senior General Counsel (Executive Director), who is supported in his management role by the General Counsel (Deputy Executive Director). The LSU organizational chart identifies 60 legal positions, four paralegal positions, and one position in patent law. These are supported by 21 administrative staff and one paralegal who are employees of Industry Canada.

1.1.2 The Department of Justice is responsible for the salaries of LSU lawyers, while the client department assumes the cost of support staff, office materials, supplies, and equipment, and provides furnished accommodation to the LSU. Legal services are billed to the client department based on a set formula and are paid through interdepartmental settlements.

1.1.3 The risk factors that were considered in relation to this audit entity include: impact of legal work on the client department; ability to respond to client demand for legal services; appropriateness of linkages with Department of Justice organizations; the level of efficiencies in the organization and in workload management; adequacy of information for decision making; accurate reporting of performance information; provision of consistent legal advice and litigation services; management of electronic information; and appropriateness of linkages with the client department.

1.1.4 The IC LSU was identified for audit in the departmental 2010-11 to 2012-13 Risk-based Audit Plan approved by the Deputy Minister.

1.2 Audit Objectives and Scope

1.2.1 The overall objective of the audit was to provide assurance that the IC LSU’s management framework is effective.

1.2.2 The scope of the audit focused on:

  • the management control framework in place;
  • the management of human, financial, and materiel resources;
  • the reliability of information contained in information systems for decision making and accountability;
  • the LSU’s compliance with the Official Languages Act;
  • risk and legal file management and forecasting demand for legal services;
  • interfaces with other Justice sectors and the client department;
  • client satisfaction.

1.2.3 The auditors did not review client files and reports containing case-related information due to confidentiality of the case information and solicitor-client privilege.

1.3 Audit Criteria

1.3.1 Audit criteria were developed in consideration of the risks identified during the planning phase of the audit and were derived from the TBS Management Accountability Framework, the Guidance on Control issued by the Criteria of Control Board (CoCo) of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the TB Policy on Internal Audit. For detailed criteria, see Appendix A.

1.4 Approach and Methodology

1.4.1 The planning and on-site examination phases of the audit were carried out between October 2010 and March 2011. The audit included documentation available as of February 2011. Auditors reviewed transactions from fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11. A detailed description of the approach and methodology is outlined in Appendix B.

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