Board of Directors meeting
Board of Directors meeting

05.03.2019

AUDITOR GENERAL OF ONTARIO’S SPECIAL AUDIT RECOMMENDATIONS INITIATED BY NPCA

PELHAM, Ont. (May 3, 2019)– At today’s Full Authority Meeting, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) welcomed Auditor General of Ontario, Bonnie Lysyk, to review her recommendations with the Interim Board of Directors.

Ms. Lysyk’s office was engaged to perform a Special Audit of the NPCA, requested by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts under Section 17 of the Auditor General Act. The audit began in October 2017 and concluded in July 2018, resulting in 24 recommendations.

“We were pleased to update the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario, the Board of Directors, and members of the public, on the progress made by the NPCA,” said Interim CAO, Gayle Wood. “In response to the recommendations, all have been initiated and the majority will be completed by the end of the year.”

Today’s Full Authority Meeting Agenda Appendix 1 (page 31) outlined the 24 recommendations and the NPCA’s progress to date. Some of these accomplishments include:

1. Recommendation #6: The Governance Committee reviewed and clarified per diems in February 2019. Per diem and honorarium policies have been updated and outlined in Administrative By-Law. Board members will receive one per diem per day, if attending an NPCA meeting, despite the number of meetings attended.

2. Recommendation #7: The NPCA has completed flood plain mapping for 42 per cent of the watershed. Mapping is currently underway for the Welland River, nine watercourses in Grimsby and Lincoln, and two in St. Catharines. A five-year capital forecast for the remaining 58 per cent of mapping to be completed will be placed in the 2020 budget.

3. Recommendation #9: The NPCA Policy for the Administration of Ontario Regulation 155/06 and The Planning Act document was updated and became effective in November 2018. NPCA policies are consistent with Section 3. 1 of the Provincial Policy Statement.

4. Recommendation #10: An organizational review was completed and approved by the Board on April 17, 2019. Staff alignments follow the NPCA’s Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and a staffing/skills analysis will be completed as part of a Human Resources Plan. Staffing gaps identified in the review will be considered in relation to 2020 funding requests.

5. Recommendation #11: A Supervisor of Permits and Compliance was hired in March 2019. This Supervisor has three staff members addressing both regulatory and forestry violations. Three of four compliance staff have received Level 1 Conservation Ontario Compliance training.

6. Recommendation #13: A re-vitalized Restoration Program was approved by the Board of Directors on April 17, 2019. The new program includes a vision, principles, goals, and is based on the Conservation Authorities Act mandate and the NPCA Strategic Plan.

7. Recommendation #17: HR Policy and Recruitment Procedures are scheduled for refinement. This will include outlining steps and documentation process to support hiring decisions, promotion policies, and outlining what constitutes a conflict of interest.

Out of the 24 recommendations, six rest with the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks and Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The NPCA will work with its umbrella organization, Conservation Ontario, to have an input into the Ministry’s review to modernize conservation authority operations and focus conservation authority’s development permits on the protection of people and property.

“A very important task was undertaken by the previous Board of Directors, to work with the Auditor General on her Special Audit of the NPCA,” added Board Chair, Dave Bylsma. “With 16 of the 18 members being new to this term, it was beneficial to not only have the opportunity to hear about the progress that has been made, but also chart and plot a vision for the remainder of our term.”

For more information about the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, please visit www.npca.ca. Follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Complete Special Audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Report.

Auditor General of Ontario Presentation to Interim Board of Directors.

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About NPCA:

The NPCA manages the impact of human activities, urban growth, and rural activities on the Niagara Peninsula watershed with programs and services that help keep people and their property safe from flooding and erosion, while retaining the safety of our drinking water.

NPCA manages 41 Conservation Areas, including Ball’s Falls, Binbrook, Long Beach and Chippawa Creek. These lands are held in public trust for recreation, heritage preservation, conservation, and education. NPCA’s Conservation Areas marry nature, culture and adventure to create limitless opportunities for discovery.

Questions related to the above release should be directed to:

Erika Navarro, Communications Specialist
Mobile: 905-650-4027
enavarro@npca.ca