The Government of Alberta spent over $4 billion responding to COVID-19 in 2020-21.
Since annual reports are a key accountability tool for the government, we analyzed how well the government reported its COVID-19 programs in the 2020-21 annual reports. We focused on the results analysis sections, the narrative portions of the annual reports that link financial and non-financial information. We did not audit the processes to produce the 2020-21 annual reports.
We examined 20 ministry annual reports, in conjunction with the Annual Report Government of Alberta 2020-2021 and the 2020-21 Final Results Year-End Report, against the following best practices.
What We Found
The results analysis sections of the 2020-21 annual reports did not always provide a clear picture of what the COVID-19 funding achieved. Nor were the sections comparable across ministries in terms of reporting dollars spent, objectives and results.
We are not making a new recommendation because these findings support our outstanding 2019 recommendation to Treasury Board and Finance to improve:
- guidance and training for ministry management to identify, analyze and report on results in ministry annual reports
- processes to monitor ministry compliance with results analysis reporting standards