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Audit of the Canadian Embassy, Beijing

(January 2003)

Executive Summary

An audit of the General Relations (GR), International Business Development (IBD), Consular, and Administration Programs was conducted in Beijing during the period January 21 to 30, 2002. The audit was conducted concurrently with the audit of the other four Missions in China, including the two Spokes of Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing. A previous audit of these Programs, except for General Relations, was carried out in September 1997.

Management of the Mission

This Mission, with capable and motivated staff, is effectively managed. Morale throughout the Mission is very good. There is a sound committee structure in place and communications internally, as well as with the other China Missions, are effective. Mission Programs continue to grow, particularly the Immigration Program. The new Immigration Annex, which is only 18 months old, is already overcrowded. There are workload pressures in other Programs, specifically the GR and IBD Programs. Without a comprehensive resource review, however, it is difficult to assess if Programs are properly resourced. A vision of the long-term requirements for the Mission is needed to allow for effective planning. The Hub and Spoke Agreements between Beijing and the Consulates in Chongqing and Guangzhou need to be updated.

Management of the Mission - Detailed Report

General Relations Program

This multifaceted Program is very well managed. Five of the six Political Officers speak Mandarin. It is a dedicated group, resourceful and ambitious, supported by dynamic and well trained Locally-Engaged employees. Morale is excellent and communication within the Program appears to be very good.

In view of the importance and complexity of China's accession to World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, it is recommended that the Economic Section be reinforced by a second Canada-Based trade policy expert. In the same vein but for different reasons, the Head of Mission's (HOM) Public Diplomacy Initiative should receive additional support. This will entail more resources than are available at this time. A recent study by the Mission demonstrates that Canada is lagging behind most other like-minded countries in projecting its image and values through public diplomacy.

Language training remains a key factor for the effectiveness of our employees in China. We are encouraged to see that the Personnel Management Bureau (HPD) shares this view and continues to give it high priority.

General Relations Program - Detailed Report

International Business Development (IBD) Program

The IBD Program has an experienced and capable management team. Morale is good, as is coordination with other Programs and Other Government Departments (OGDs). The Program has a heavy workload with considerable effort required in the areas of advocacy and market access, advising clients and intervening on their behalf with Government officials and the regulatory regime.

The Program needs to adopt a more strategic perspective in setting its agenda, reducing reactive programming and engaging in the proactive trade development activities that it controls. To accomplish this, a more formal and structured framework for planning, monitoring and reporting on Program activities and their outcomes is required. Also, a performance measurement capability would assist the Program to determine objectively where and how to direct its resources. Reinforcing the application of the New Approach would also provide efficiencies to the Program and would provide the basis for capturing and generating the information needed to assess performance on an on-going basis.

IBD Program - Detailed Report

Consular Program

The Consular Program is well managed and the Mission is providing effective Consular services. The HOM takes an active interest in the Program, and the Mission enjoys solid support from Headquarters (HQ). The replacement of expatriate staff with Diplomatic Service Bureau (DSB) employees, who are trilingual, has improved service delivery. With the recent activation of the on-line Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) form, the Mission will need to review and update the system more frequently to ensure accuracy. A warden system is to be implemented during the next year.

Consular Program - Detailed Report

Administration Program

The Administration Program operates well although it would benefit from more structured management. There have been many recent accomplishments with the building of a new Annex and Staff Quarters (SQs), the renovation of an office building and significant improvements to leased SQs. These housing improvements have resulted in a dramatic reduction of accommodation deficiency adjustments (ADAs). The Program has also successfully recovered $510,000 in outstanding security deposits. Additional savings are possible if the Mission was to fill a number of its Locally-Engaged Staff (LES) positions with employees from the DSB rather than expatriates whose salaries are substantially higher. Position numbers are needed for a large number of employees. Financial controls over revenues and expenditures are effective, although Right of Landing Fees (ROLF) refunds are cause for concern. ROLF refunds amounted to $703,542 in the past 28 months. The Mission is also holding five school debentures valued at US $75,000 that may not be necessary.

Administration Program - Detailed Report

Recommendation Status

The report contains 41 recommendations. Of these, 31 are directed at the Mission for implementation and 10 at Headquarters for implementation. Given the responses received, the Mission has taken appropriate action with respect to 17 of these recommendations, while 14 are in the process of being implemented. In the case of Headquarters, two recommendations have been actioned and eight are currently in the process of being implemented.

Resources Fact Sheet

Personnel (FTEs)

HOM Office167
International Business Development91019
General Relations7714
Common Services188199
Defence Liaison202

* Totals DO NOT include CEC ( 3 LES), Prov Reps: Quebec ( 1 CBS and 2 LES) and Alberta (2 CBS and 4 LES) and EDC (1 CBS )

Physical Resources

Chancery1(with 1 ground lease)
Annex - Paynter1 
Annex - North1(with 1 ground lease)

Financial Information FY 2001-2002

LES Salaries N012$4,377,968
CBS Overtime N01173,000
Operational N0016,492,629
Capital N005468,400


Office of the Inspector General


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