The Department of Environment is taking action to improve its operations to ensure environmental protection, to address recommendations outlined by the auditor general today, Nov. 1.
The auditor general’s fall report includes chapters on environmental assessments, climate change management, accounting for contaminated sites and previous audits related to the environment.
“The department has done a great deal of work to ensure operations are effective and efficient in ensuring environmental protection,” said Environment Minister Iain Rankin. “We are making significant progress and this work will address past and current recommendations from the auditor general.”
There are seven recommendations related to environmental assessments.
“We agree with these recommendations as they will help us do a better job of ensuring that terms and conditions of approvals are met,” said Mr. Rankin. “We have already implemented several of them and we aim to implement the rest within two years.”
A new computer system is helping compliance staff track all approvals issued by the department, including environmental assessment approvals. The system alerts inspectors on when to conduct inspections or audits and when certain terms and conditions are due to be completed.
The department also accepts the auditor general’s three recommendations related to climate change management.
The department has been reporting annually on key climate change actions and is committed to doing more, including annual legislated reporting through the cap and trade program. The department will also develop and update plans to address future impacts of climate change every two years.
The department is making progress on recommendations from previous audits. For example, the new computer system will have a component specifically for contaminated sites which will address some recommendations from 2010. Since the contaminated sites program was completely revamped in 2013, incorporating insight from the 2010 audit, some recommendations may no longer be relevant.