November 23 - December 2, 2009
The scope of the Inspection included a review of Mission Management, Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs, International Business Development, Consular and Administration programs. The inspection objectives were to:
The focus and extent of on-site work was based on an assessment of materiality and related risk. This was done through communication with Headquarters (HQ) bureaux, including briefings by line management and the functional bureaux, review of relevant HQ and Mission documentation, past audit findings, and an analysis of recurring trends and systemic issues.
During the Inspection, inspection issues and lines of enquiry were further refined from information gathered through interviews with the Head of Mission and program managers, a meeting with the Locally-engaged staff Committee, individual interviews with staff, and results of other documentation reviewed. The level of inspection work was therefore based on issues and information identified and gathered at all levels, HQ, Mission Management and Mission operations.
An inspection of Mission Management, the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA), International Business Development (IBD), Consular and Administration Programs was conducted in Los Angeles and its satellite offices in San Diego and Phoenix from 23 November to 2 December, 2009. The Consulate is a medium-sized mission with 16 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 49 Locally-engaged Staff (LES) in the three offices.
The PERPA Program lacked performance measures in its advocacy plan, which has an effect on the *** to direct operations and manage performance. In both the PERPA and IBD Programs, tools and initiatives, such as TRIO and the New Way Forward are not fully implemented. There is a need for greater knowledge and understanding of these tools within the programs.
The Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) has achieved a 100% rate of contact with the 260 prisoners detained in 81 different facilities. As a result of the high arrest/detention workload, ***. There are no regular staff meetings, and no CBS were part of the passport entitlement or verification process, in contravention of Passport Canada’s regulations.
The Administration Program benefits from a work plan established by the new Management Consular Officer (MCO), which addresses key services and establishes specific deadlines. The MCO also ensures that there are regular staff meetings, although there are no formal records of decision. The Mission will have to address the lack of up to date local policies and service standards, as well as improve its adherence to policy on official languages by ensuring adequate signage in a bilingual format is posted within the Chancery and its public areas.
The Performance Management Program (PMP) has not been fully implemented at the Mission, with several staff in various programs not having received performance reviews in several years.
*** at the Phoenix IBD office is of significant concern, especially in consideration of the fact that last year the office received more than 160 walk-ins from individuals seeking Consular services. The high volume of Consular services sought at this office has an impact on the efficient performance of the IBD Program as staff are frequently distracted from their core activities.
A total of 80 recommendations are raised in the report; 74 are addressed to the Mission and six are addressed to Headquarters (HQ). Management has responded to each recommendation indicating action already taken or decisions made, as well as future action. Of the 80 recommendations, management has stated that 33 have been implemented. For the remaining 47 recommendations, management has indicated the initiatives in progress or the intended future action. This Inspection Report was finalized on May 25, 2010.
1.1.1 The Consulate General in Los Angeles with satellite offices in San Diego and Phoenix, is a medium sized organization with 16 Canada-based Staff (CBS) and 49 Locally-engaged Staff (LES). The Mission is responsible for program delivery primarily in Southern California, as well as delivery of the International Business Development (IBD) program in Arizona and New Mexico, and Consular services to Arizona, New Mexico and Clark County, Nevada.
1.1.2 The Mission is led by a Consul General, who is an EX-05 in an EX-03 position. The Head of Mission (HOM) has extensive public policy and "whole of government experience" and an in depth understanding of political and economic issues at play in California. His experience is viewed to be a significant asset in a complex Mission with some management challenges.
1.1.3 California, as the eighth largest economy in the world, second largest customer of Canadian exports, and key policy centre for the US federal administration, is a significant factor relative to the implementation of Government of Canada's (GoC) priorities. The Mission’s strategic objectives, as reflected in program plans, is aligned with both these priorities and those of the Department. An example of this is our participation in the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP), which is a cornerstone program to support departmental technology partnering objectives in priority areas such as energy, the environment and health. Canada's participation is strengthened by a HOM who has a wide network of contacts in Canada and in the territory.
1.1.5 The Mission has also begun to demonstrate a more integrative approach to furthering Government priorities in areas, such as energy and the environment, where trade and policy intersect. This was evident recently at a climate summit in Los Angeles, where both the Political Economic Relations and Public Affairs (PERPA) and IBD sections worked closely with other partners to facilitate the participation by four Canadian Premiers at this event.
1.1.6 The Mission governance structure includes a weekly Committee on Mission Management (CMM) meeting, as well as monthly Occupational Health and Safety meetings, and an LES Committee that meets on a quarterly basis. The Mission has now implemented the new LES Management Consultation Board (LESMCB) structure. All other committees (security, housing, classification review, and contract review) meet as required or as appropriate.
1.1.7 Morale within the Mission is uneven, with an "us-them" divide perceived between LES and CBS, and a sense that senior LES were under-valued. The HOM together with the CMM have already made significant efforts since the Inspection to promote a unified approach within the Mission.
1.1.8 While the Mission, as a whole, does hold all-staff meetings on a regular (four to six month) basis, program managers should establish regular program staff meetings as a priority. Greater work will also be required by program managers to ensure that staff are provided with sufficient guidance through the program plans, and feedback through the Performance Management Program (PMP).
1.1.9 With the exception of fee schedules, service standards and information posters in the Consular waiting area, little signage throughout the rest of the Chancery is provided in a bilingual format. As well, a Trade and Investment poster located in the elevator lobby is unilingual English. The Mission does, however, have sufficient capacity to provide services to Canadian clients in both official languages.
1.2.1 Mission Management should consult with the LESMCB to identify and address concerns affecting morale at the Mission.
1.2.2 The Mission should ensure that all signage in the public and operational areas are posted in both official languages.
Mission Actions and Timeframes
1.2.1 Implemented December 2009. The Mission has programmed quarterly meetings of the LESMCB into the Management Services Section Forward Planning Agenda. The HOM is scheduled to chair the meeting twice per year. Issues relating to the LES community at large are referred to the LESMCB for consultation as part of the policy consultation process.
1.2.2 In Progress for May 2010. The Mission is in the process of ensuring that signage in the public and operational areas are posted in both official languages.
2.1.1 The PERPA Program in Los Angeles is managed by an FS-03 Program Manager (PM), who is supported by three LE-09 and one LE-08 PERPA Officers, as well as an LE-05 Program Assistant. There are improvements necessary with regards to the overall management of the Program, from planning and communications through to monitoring and continuous improvement. Key elements of these management practices were not fully developed or implemented.
|Program Funds 2009-2010|
2.1.2 As noted in Mission Management, California is a key policy centre for the US federal administration, and a state of significance to the GoC’s priorities related to the United States. The PERPA Advocacy Plan is aligned with both the GoC priorities and those of the Department, and a whole of Mission approach is being taken, with cooperation evident between the PERPA and IBD programs.
2.2.1 While there is an overall advocacy plan for the PERPA Program, the current plan does not include any results-based management information, nor deliverables for the activities. Review of the previous year's plan showed no success criteria or measurements set for results-based management. The results measurement section of the plan contained only outcomes of the activities, and not the performance indicators and expected results. In order to assess the success of a project or event they must establish in advance the manner in which the results will be measured.
2.2.2 The Program Manager indicated that the advocacy plan is made operational through guidance provided by the areas of responsibility identified for the individual officers, and their job descriptions.
2.2.3 Interviews and review of the Program's documents indicated that, while there were once regular staff meetings, this was no longer the case. The Program Manager did not view them as valuable as, in his view, there was no strong substantive exchange. He therefore made a decision not to have regular staff meetings. However, he did meet with his staff periodically, both in his office and at project meetings.
2.2.4 Prior to the arrival of the Inspection Team, at the request of Program staff, a decision was made in October 2009 to reinstitute regular staff meetings as a pilot project. Program staff are in agreement that regular staff meetings are beneficial, as they allow them to be better informed of the activities of their colleagues.
2.2.5 *** receives little feedback from Ottawa on reports. ***, due to resource limitations that have impaired their ability to provide such feedback.
2.2.6 The Program has not completed the 2008-2009 PMP. The Program Manager indicated that there had been mid-year reviews. While staff provided input to the PMP by July 2009, ***.
2.2.7 Staff indicated that emergency employees had been used at the Mission over the course of the last 10 to 16 years in order to provide clerical support to the Administrative Assistant of the Program, who in turn provides support to the HOM's Assistant. *** at the Mission during the period of the Inspection, *** was tasked to provide support in an area where capacity was low and there was an immediate need for assistance.
2.2.8 The use of emergency employees to provide clerical support, and specialist policy support to address urgent needs is in line with section 8.1 Emergency Employment of the Locally-Engaged Staff Employment Regulations (SOR/95-152) . This being noted, the length of time over which the Mission has engaged emergency employees may necessitate a review of resources and/or priorities.
2.2.9 The PM indicated that staff had received New Way Forward (NWF) training from Headquarters, and had been provided with online reference material.
2.2.10 The PM sought to use Governors' Global Climate Summit 2 and the attendance of provincial Premiers to provide to the PERPA team a walk-through of the NWF as it would apply to the summit. It was intended to act as an opportunity to implement NWF and improve the team's understanding of it. Still, with the exception of the Program Manager, knowledge and use of the NWF was noted to be limited.
2.2.11 For the most part, hospitality diaries were complete and provided adequate information on the event, the objectives and results. It should be noted that one officer provided diaries that were not only well documented, but also included copies of reports generated from these events. This best practice allows the reviewer to have a more fulsome understanding of the utility of the event.
2.3.1 The PERPA Program should ensure that operational work plans are developed, which clearly identify expected results, resource allocations, time-lines, and reporting outputs.
2.3.2 The Program should ensure regular staff meetings are held with key points and decisions recorded and distributed to staff.
2.3.3 The PERPA Program should ensure the completion of the PMP process.
2.3.4 The Mission should review the clerical and administrative assistant resource requirements of the PERPA Program.
2.3.5 The Mission should continue with NWF training, and ensure that all staff make use of the available tools, such as the web-based training available to staff.
2.3.1 In Progress for April 2010. The PERPA Program has finalized and submitted for approval its business plan for fiscal year (FY) 2010-2011 (now pending approval by Headquarters (HQ)). The business plan contains performance indicators, resources, time lines and reporting requirements. The PM is working with the full PERPA team to develop individual work plans. These are based on and include the above elements of the business plan but also contain performance objectives and "percentage of time" allocation per project / activity. An initial review of the individual work plans took place with the HOM on March 18, 2010
2.3.2 Implemented January 2010. Regular full staff meetings are being held and records of decision are being posted on the Mission’s Wiki.
2.3.3 In Progress for May 2010. The PMP process is well underway to full implementation. The full PERPA team has created input, including performance indicators, and the PM has provided feedback. The next target deadlines are March 31, 2010 and June 30, 2010. The PM and the full team have committed to providing agreed to PMPs to the HOM for his review and approval by May 31, 2010 at the latest.
2.3.4 In Progress for April 2010. Two job descriptions will be updated and approved by the Classification Committee by April 30, 2010
2.3.5 Implemented January 2010. Following the Inspection Team’s visit, the PM encouraged the full PERPA team to register for and take the online NWF training module to refresh their knowledge of the initiative. By late January 2010, the full PERPA team had completed the course successfully.
2.3.6 GGD should examine the approach to political access to the state capital. This could include the approaches taken in other locations , and the approaches of other like minded missions.
2.3.6 In Progress for spring 2010. GNM (the North America management team) will address the access to the capital question as part of the State Portfolio's broader footprint review exercise and New Business Model. A decision is expected by the end of spring 2010.
3.1.1 What happens in the Californian economy matters for Canada both in terms of commercial opportunities for Canadian companies and key regulatory frameworks. These frameworks affect the orientation of several key industries.
3.1.2 The Californian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1.8 trillion USD makes it the eighth largest economy in the world and the largest in the United States. The Port of Los Angeles is the largest in the United States by container volume. California is an important market for Canadian goods (automotive, information and communication technology (ICT) including multi media), energy, green building technologies, agri-food, and life sciences, all of which generate innovation niches. This is in addition to the film industry in Southern California which is of significance for Canada from a technological and cultural perspective. Two-way merchandise trade in 2008 totaled $35.4 billion USD, with Canadian exports to California significantly exceeded exports to all BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China).
3.1.3 California is a technology and innovation leader and has a world class network of universities and research centres. These realities make it a trend setter with many innovative clusters. These clusters represent an opportunity for Canada's own research centres and provide commercialization possibilities. Canada has a unique channel of collaboration with the State via the Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership (CCSIP).
3.1.4 Our missions in California are thus in the middle of a strategic and challenging market for Canada. Canada is competing with other countries that are pursuing similar opportunities and have several comparative advantages. Also, California faces a major recession with economic and fiscal problems ***. However the State has benefitted from the federal stimulus package which will offer opportunities for Canadian companies in the areas of infrastructure, clean technologies, green buildings, and life sciences.
3.2.1 Under the *** the HOM, the Consulate General and its satellite offices have developed an *** program to take advantage of what this market has to offer. The offices in California are also looking to focus on an integrated approach between the IBD and PERPA programs. This is being done in recognition of the fact that Sacramento is developing regulations that will represent potential business opportunities but also require close attention as to the potential impact on Canadian competitiveness.
3.2.2 The territories of Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico are covered by the missions in Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego. Two-way trade between Canada and Arizona totaled $2.95 billion in 2008. Two-way trade between Canada and New Mexico totaled $821 million in 2008. While these two states are currently in the midst of an economic contraction, they have both seen remarkable growth and economic diversification in the past decade.
3.2.3 The coverage of territory by resident officers is not strictly delineated by area. For example, the Tucson-based officer that covers the green building sector also covers southern California, and Los Angeles covers northern California for aerospace and defence in collaboration with San Francisco.
3.2.4 The IBD Program in Los Angeles is managed by a Senior Trade Commissioner (STC), level EX-02, who recently arrived and has managerial oversight responsibility for the Canadian Consulates in Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California. These Consulates exist first and foremost for the IBD Program in their regions. Observations specific to those missions are detailed at the end of this section.
3.2.5 In Los Angeles, the STC is supported by three FS-03 Canada-based Trade Commissioners (TC) focused respectively on Investment, Innovation and Entertainment Industries, five LE-09 Trade Commissioners and three LE-05 Trade Commissioner Assistants (TCA). It is noted that one of the TCAs works primarily as a Mission-wide Events Coordinator.
3.2.6 Phoenix is comprised of an FS-04 Consul & Senior Trade Commissioner, two LE-09 Trade Commissioners and an LE-05 TCA. The San Diego Consulate is made up of an FS-03 Consul and Trade Commissioner, an FS-02 Consul Trade Commissioner, two LE-09 Trade Commissioners and an LE-05 TCA.
3.2.7 Budget allocations by mission for FY 2009-2010, per the missions’ IBD Plans are as follows. The budget for Los Angeles and San Diego are combined, while Phoenix maintains its own separately. Given the strategic input that the STC wants to give both San Diego and Phoenix, it would be appropriate that funding endowments and requests for San Diego and Phoenix flow through Los Angeles.
|Fund||Los Angeles/San Diego||Phoenix|
|Client Service Fund (CSF)||$ 93,150||$ 16,800|
|North American Partnership Platform (NAPP) Funding||$ 162,023||$ 49,853|
|Travel||$ 19,508||$ 7,500|
|Hospitality||$ 9,000||$ 7,500|
|Partner Departments1||$ 542,375||$ 48,000|
|Other||$ 158,9002||$ 21,000|
1 Partner Department funding includes: Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Atlantic Canada
Opportunities Agency, Heritage Canada, Export Development Corporation, Natural Resources Canada,
Western Economic Diversification Canada and the National Research Council.
2 Other funding sources include: Government of Ontario, Ontario Media Development
Corporation, Canadian Film and Television Production Association, Society of Composers, Authors and
Music Publishers of Canada, Canadian Music Publishers Association and the Whistler Film Festival.
Note to Reader: Sections 3.3 to 3.5 deal with the Los Angeles IBD Program unless either satellite office (Phoenix and/or San Diego) are specifically mentioned. Sections 3.6 and 3.7 deal with Phoenix and San Diego specifically.
3.3.1 The IBD Program in Los Angeles has recently been restructured based on an analysis, conducted by the STC shortly after her arrival in the summer of 2009. Reporting structures have been re-calibrated as a result of this exercise and taking into account the officers’ profiles. Part of that re-calibration involved the delegation of management responsibility to an FS-03 Officer in Los Angeles, to give the STC more time to provide ***direction to the team. It will be important, however, to ensure that these responsibilities do not distract from key Program objectives of this employee who acts as the Technology Partnership Officer (TPO).
3.3.2 The HOM brings relevant experience in many areas, including innovation/science and technology, to help identify and exploit opportunities in this economy. The Program benefits from a solid group of officers and a relatively rich budget base. As well, the current STC brings experience in both IBD and management that will help to properly align the Program and address the challenges noted in this report. That said, there is a *** need for the STC to devote most of her time to *** Program management.
3.3.3 PMPs have not been in place for Program staff for a number of years. A situation the STC is well aware of, and intends to action as part of her plan to provide to staff clarity of direction and clear expectations. The implementation of PMPs and an active and engaged STC should help meet that expectation.
3.3.4 The number of TCAs in Los Angeles has dropped from four to three in the past year. In 2008-2009 Heritage Canada (PCH) cancelled the Trade Routes Program and in the process, eliminated an officer and an LE-05 TCA position. The CBS Officer position was retained through the secondment of the employee to DFAIT, but the corresponding assistant position was deleted. At the request of the HOM, a TCA position was changed, to that of a Mission-wide Events Coordinator (about 10% of this position remains allocated to the IBD Program).
3.3.5 The combined effect of the reduction of TCA direct support to officers has created greater pressure on the remaining two full time TCAs. With the US footprint review, which was being undertaken at the time of the Inspection, (by the North American Platform Program (NAPP) Executive Coordinator (GWX)), the need for a Mission-wide events coordinator could be addressed through this exercise to potentially allow for a return of this position to the Program on a full time basis.
3.3.6 The specific roles and responsibilities of the TCAs should be further defined as there is confusion regarding the level of support they offer to officers. TCA job descriptions are outdated and do not take into account current responsibilities or the addition of TRIO related duties. Officers should have clear and realistic expectations in terms of the support they should receive from TCAs. Some possibilities include revitalizing the InfoCentre, including the provision of greater research support to TCs, and monitoring of IBD Program performance through regular TRIO reports.
3.3.7 Some CBS officers found that handover notes provided to them by their predecessors were limited both in terms of volume and quality. It will be important to ensure this does not occur for the next staff rotation.
3.3.8 Communication within the Program is relatively good, but there is a need
for more regular interactions between officers. This should be done within the framework of the integrated trade model and functional officers dealing with innovation, investment and the global value chain in all priority sectors.
3.4.1 Los Angeles (including San Diego) has a well developed business plan, but would benefit from greater strategic focus in some areas, such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) promotion. Some officers expressed concern with respect to the clarity of direction emanating from HQ; ***. There is a need to clarify the relationship between missions, the geographic and the sector practice groups to allow for more consistent direction and advice to the missions. Examples of this are the stance of various HQ groups on the level of focus that should be placed on assisting Canadian firms in accessing venture capital and on intellectual property transfer/licensing issues.
3.4.2 The Program has a *** team, with an *** STC. It benefits from a HOM who***, has a network of contacts in Canada. However, there is a belief within the IBD team that at times, the HOM's requests can often result in shifting priorities. There is no question that the IBD Program needs to actively engage the HOM, however, this could be done with greater predictability for both the STC and the officers. One way to address this will be to engage the HOM early in the development of the 2010-2011 IBD Plan (including a program of outcalls) and use the final product as a contract between him and the IBD Program for 2010-2011. This plan would subsequently be used by the STC and HOM to analyze new opportunities identified during the year, determine if a shifting of resources is needed. This should allow for a more strategic exploitation of opportunities identified by the HOM during the course of the year.
3.4.3 The CBS TPO has developed a good strategy in this area and has identified where she can add value to the work of officers in their sectors. The STC will need to be vigilant to ensure that the CBS’ management responsibilities are not detrimental to her role as TPO.
3.4.5 The Investment Officer (also a CBS) makes good use of the network of investment specialists in HQ in developing targets. One concern is that, according to the Officer, he is working mainly on a reactive basis (approximately 75% of the time). Given the importance of potential investors in this region, the Program should develop a pro-active program of outcalls (including for the HOM) in key sectors for 2010-2011 and leverage the tools and support provided by Investor Services (BIS) in HQ. It is also noted that the Investment Officer is also the lead for Canadian Direct Investment Abroad (CDIA). CDIA files should be handled by every officer within their sector, not only the Investment Officer.
3.5.1 All officers interviewed displayed a high degree of knowledge within their sectors. That said, it is difficult to gauge activity and productivity within the Program as staff have not been consistently entering their client interactions in TRIO. Given statistics generated before the Inspection through TRIO, the Program seems to be underperforming when compared to other US missions’ IBD programs, serving fewer clients than the median level per officer in the US.
3.5.2 An issue that affects TRIO usage is the insufficient functional knowledge that Program employees have with the application. There is a need for additional TRIO training for most employees. Additionally, there are some Program staff who have not yet taken the standard Trade Commissioner Service course, entitled the Global Learning Initiative (GLI).
3.5.3 The degree of cooperation and coordination between the missions in South Western California and with Phoenix and San Francisco is excellent. However, the Inspection Team supports the STC's intention to merge the budget allocation between Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix to ensure a more strategic distribution of funds between those two missions.
3.5.4 The Program's relationships with the Regional Offices (ROs) were less developed. Many officers expressed the continued need to travel to Canada to identify and liaise with clients and attend trade exhibitions. Program officers felt that the ROs were not always providing timely or relevant information on Canadian capacity and orientations. Instances had occurred when RO representatives had attended conferences in Canada (in lieu of having Trade Commissioners from outside Canada attend) but did not provide any sort of summary report on the conference. Incidents of this nature lessen the confidence that missions have in the ROs’ ability to provide them with current market intelligence. As well, many officers expressed confusion at the role of the International Business Opportunities Centre (IBOC) and many have stopped referring cases to IBOC. A clarification on the future of IBOC should be provided.
3.6.1 The IBD Program in Phoenix functions well and benefits from an *** STC and *** staff. Officers are very active in their sectors despite the amount of Consular work they have to handle (see below). Program staff have been compliant with respect to departmental reporting and systems.
3.6.2 A significant issue for the Phoenix office is the amount of Consular work that it handles. As a satellite of the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles, the Phoenix operation was meant to focus strictly on IBD and to a lesser extent PERPA activities. All Consular work should be done by Los Angeles. However, the fact that the office is advertised as a Canadian Consulate in an area where many "snowbirds" reside during winter, attracts a high number of inquiries. TRIO statistics show more than 460 inquiries as of November 2009 for 2009-2010 and in the previous year there were more than 160 walk-ins.
3.6.3 Ideally, staff in Phoenix would direct Consular clients to Los Angeles and their involvement would end there. In practice, it is not possible to leave the interactions to that. Once directed to Los Angeles, clients often become frustrated at not being able to speak to someone directly and contact Phoenix again. In other cases people show up at the premises and demand to be served. Finally, there are some instances where immediate service is required (lost passports, family emergencies, etc.).
3.6.4 All of the above leads to a major distraction from primary trade responsibilities for the employees working in Phoenix. The Consulate in San Diego is faced with similar challenges, although on a lesser scale due to the proximity of San Diego to Los Angeles. Additionally, San Diego has managed to implement a telephone system whereby the caller is automatically directly connected to Los Angeles’ Consular Section if their call relates to a Consular issue.
3.6.5 The consular workload faced by Phoenix is a serious concern, but the most significant issue that surrounds this is the configuration of the office that they occupy. The space currently occupied is inadequate to house the five approved positions allocated to Phoenix. There is space for two officers and an assistant. The space is also questionable from a representational perspective as the offices are used for storage and, as such, are cluttered and not functional, not to mention the ***.
3.6.6 With respect to the IBD Program, the office collaborates appropriately with Los Angeles and San Diego and other missions when warranted. The Green Building Officer (attached to Phoenix but based in Tucson) also covers portions of Los Angeles territory, increasing the need for communication and coordination. This officer is also the Green Building Sector lead within the US.
3.6.7 Similar to Los Angeles, officers felt that there was an ongoing need for them to travel to Canada as they felt the ROs and other support at HQ from sector groups were not providing sufficient information on potential Canadian clients. This indicates a disconnect between the ROs and the missions with respect to timely and relevant intelligence on Canadian capacity. The current business model has this intelligence generated by ROs and the sector groups at HQ. As well, many officers expressed confusion at the role of IBOC, and many have stopped referring cases to IBOC. As noted earlier a clarification on the future of IBOC should be provided.
3.6.8 Following the closure of the Tucson Consulate in 2008, a position was retained from that office and transferred to Phoenix. The Officer has remained in Tucson and is teleworking from his home. This arrangement is currently working as there is no available space for the Officer in the Phoenix office. The Officer remains highly productive albeit somewhat isolated from the rest of the team. Once space does become available, an understanding as to how the Tucson-based Officer will operate within the Phoenix office will become necessary. Continuing the current telework arrangement may be possible with some agreement as to the frequency of visits to Phoenix (approximately 200 km from Tucson) by the Officer.
3.7.1 The Program in San Diego is performing well on the whole. The Program benefits from *** leadership and support from the Head of Office on site. All staff felt that they had a very clear sense of purpose and that the expectations placed on them were unambiguous. Contributing to that was the fact that all PMPs were in place.
3.7.2 There is a need for the Program to increase use of TRIO to record its activities. Current statistics are not reflective of the actual level of activity in the Program. The Inspection Team has observed that the continued use of MARCUS to report on results in the US has reduced the level of focus that certain missions place on consistency of usage of TRIO. San Diego would appear to be one of these cases.
3.7.3 Program staff were knowledgeable and active in their sectors. All staff had identified and implemented opportunities for the HOM in Los Angeles to support their work in outcalls and felt that his involvement assisted them in developing a more robust relationship with their contacts.
3.7.4 Some Program staff felt that there was an important role for the PERPA Program in Los Angeles to play in the delivery of the IBD Program in San Diego. There is a large defence industry in the area, and a suggestion was that the PERPA Program could help to promote collaboration between Canada and the US in this sector. By doing so, it was hoped that accessing contacts in this industry would become easier.
3.7.5 *** sensed that there was a high level of confusion with respect to messaging and direction emanating from HQ. Specifically, they noticed a palpable disconnect ***. As a result staff often felt that they were serving multiple entities and developed a tendency to deal with the area where they felt that their plans, ideas or funding requests would be better received. This situation and environment could over the long haul, have an effect on Program delivery.
3.7.6 Two officers in San Diego have yet to receive GLI training. In lieu of this training, the STC has been filling in gaps, but there remains a need for a more fulsome presentation and/or discussion on the operations of the Department. The STC in Los Angeles should arrange for a session for both satellites on the Global Commerce Strategy, the Integrated Trade Model, etc.
3.7.7 Program officers suggested that there was potential to do an examination of the integrated economies of Southern California and the Northern Baja State of Mexico. The Tijuana area has undergone considerable economic growth and diversification in recent years and as a result has become more integrated with Southern California. Certain Global Value Chains are in practice in this area. A study on the nature of this integrated economy would be a good starting point, potentially followed by collaborative client-based initiatives between missions in California and Mexico.
3.8.1 The STC should ensure that the roles and responsibilities of TCAs in Los Angeles are clarified (in particular the services to be provided to the TCs and the deliverables of the TRIO Champion).
3.8.2 The STC should ensure that CBS officers prepare adequate handover notes for their successors.
3.8.3 The IBD Program should develop a pro-active program of outcalls, and leverage tools and support provided by BIS.
3.8.4 The STC should ensure that CDIA files are handled by the Officer for that sector.
3.8.5 The STC and the Head of Office in San Diego should ensure that IBD staff are consistent in their use of TRIO, and make compliance a part of their PMPs and Performance Management Agreements (PMAs).
3.8.6 The STC in Los Angeles should arrange special training sessions for staff in both the Los Angeles and San Diego missions in order to ensure the proper entry of data in TRIO. The TRIO Champion should produce regular reports to the STC on the performance of each officer based on TRIO.
3.8.1 In Progress. Revised roles and responsibilities of TCAs will be clarified, communicated and reflected in PMPs by June 30, 2010.
3.8.2 In Progress for June 2010. The STC is to ensure CBS prepare adequate handover notes for successors. No transitions anticipated before June 2011.
3.8.3 In Progress for June 2010. A proactive program of outcalls for Investment will be completed by April 30, 2010.
3.8.4 In Progress. The STC is to ensure that CDIA files are handled by the Officer for the sector, and to be reflected in PMPs for 2010-2011 and to be completed by June 30, 2010.
3.8.5 In Progress for June 2010. The STC and the Head of Office in San Diego will ensure that IBD staff are consistent in their use of TRIO by April 1, 2010 and to ensure compliance reflected in PMPs by June 30, 2010.
3.8.6 In Progress for June 2010. The STC in Los Angeles arranged special TRIO training session for staff in both Los Angeles (March 1-2, 2010) and San Diego (March 3, 2010) to ensure proper entry of data. Furthermore, both the STC and the Head of Office in San Diego received individualized Dashboard training to be better able to monitor TRIO compliance and performance. Finally, all remaining IBD staff in the three missions (except one new recruit and one who could not attend for *** are completing their GLI training in Mexico City (March 15-19, 2010) so mission will be compliant in that regard as well.
3.8.7 Budgets (funding endowments and requests for additional funding) for Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego should be consolidated under the authority of the STC in Los Angeles in order to ensure optimum distribution of funds between the three missions.
3.8.8 GND, *** and International Platform Branch (ACM) should consult together in order to address the significant ***concerns and general layout issues of the Phoenix office.
3.8.9 In consultation with the Mission, GND and North American Partnership Platform Coordination Bureau (GWX) should review the number of TCA support resources in the IBD Program.
3.8.7 In Progress. GND would support the consolidation of the three IBD budgets (CSF/NAPP for Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix) under the authority and accountability of the STC in Los Angeles.
3.8.8 In Progress. Under the Enhanced Representation Initiative, offices in small missions, such as Phoenix, were considered "docking space" i.e. an office where the Trade Commissioners would come back to in between outcalls and meetings. Therefore, the business office concept was given preference over leased space. ***. In the meantime, GND is working with*** and ACM to resolve the most pressing ***concerns.
3.8.9 In Progress. GNM and GND will be discussing the issue with Los Angeles’ management.
3.8.10 BBD and GND should clarify their roles and responsibilities in providing directions to the posts in the USA in terms of sector related matters. This matter could potentially be discussed in a forum such as the Global Commerce Coordination Committee to achieve a common understanding and message.
3.8.10 In progress. A working session will be held between GND, the other geographic bureaux and the sector divisions to reach a clearer understanding on how to work more cooperatively to better serve the missions. The conclusions of this session will be communicated to the posts.
3.8.11 BSD should respectively clarify the expected roles of ROs and IBOC in providing posts’ intelligence on Canadian capacity.
3.8.11 In Progress. The recommendation has been flagged to BBD (as manager of IBOC) and Regional Office directors. Following consultations with concerned units, BSD and BBD will prepare a message to ROs, missions and relevant HQ units clarifying the roles expected of Regional Offices and HQ units in providing Missions with intelligence on Canadian capacity.
4.1.1 The Consular Program is managed by the AS-05 Deputy Management Consular Officer (DMCO) with oversight by the AS-06 Management Consular Officer (MCO). The DMCO is supported by five full-time LES Consular Assistants and Passport Examiners, two part-time Citizenship Assistants and one part-time Consular Assistant. The Program is responsible for the provision of Consular services in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Clark County, Nevada. The demand for services is increasing because of the growing Canadian population and visitors in the area.
4.1.2 As of the end of October 2009, the Program processed 414 regular passports, 101 temporary passports, one emergency passport and 588 letters of facilitation. On an annual basis, the Program also processes approximately 15 notary services and 886 citizenship applications. The Registration of Canadians Abroad (ROCA) database indicates that there are only 264 Canadians registered in the Mission's areas of accreditation. The Mission estimates the actual number of Canadian residents to be around 1,200,000. The Mission should provide ROCA information with citizenship cards and passports to encourage registration using the self-service system.
4.1.3 As a result of the high arrest/detention workload, ***. At the time of the Inspection, over 260 prisoners located in 81 different facilities were incarcerated in the Mission’s area of accreditation. Prisoner contacts are at 100% although the Program works with a travel budget of only $1,000. Staff noted that the service standard is difficult to achieve with such a small budget.
4.1.4 Staff remarked that some employees were not as busy as others. With a workload imbalance, the Mission should consider redistributing the work and modifying the Section’s structure. For example, the DMCO could transfer some prisoner contact to others in the Section. This would allow more time to manage the Program.
4.2.1 The Consular Contingency Plan was updated in August 2009 and was
waiting approval from the HOM at the time of the Inspection. The Duty Officer Manual is up to date and is available to Consular staff on the shared drive. Clients seeking Consular assistance after hours are redirected to the HQ Watch Office.
4.2.2 The Consular Section has no regular formal staff meetings, and no records of decisions are kept for informal meetings.
4.2.3 The Inspection team was informed that COMIP (consular statistic) reports
had not been filed for several months. HQ uses COMIP to monitor mission activities, provide input into planning documents for central agencies and develop business cases for resource requirements. It is therefore important that these reports be completed and filed on a monthly basis.
4.3.1 The Passport Supervisor and one of the Passport Examiners are exercising the passport approval function. As per Passport Canada's regulations, with the exception of emergency situations, only certified CBS should be verifying and approving passport applications. At the time of the Inspection, no CBS were involved in the passport entitlement or verification process. Since there are two DMCOs and one MCO at the Mission, there should be no need for an LES to approve passports. It was also noted that all four LES involved in delivering passport services were ***.
4.3.2 Passport documents were counted and reconciled, and no discrepancies
were found. Monthly reconciliation of passport supplies *** and timely basis. Quarterly reconciliations conducted by the HOM ***. The Mission should ensure that two staff members (at least one CBS) participate in the reconciliations and that they both sign off.
4.3.3 Passport stock should be kept to a minimum in the operational area. A
working stock of a few days requirements should be kept ***. A log for transfer of passport stock should be created to monitor stock movement ***.
4.3.4 An inventory of dry seals was in place, but was not accurate ***, the Mission should complete a detailed inventory of dry and wet seals, ***. This inventory should be reconciled and updated on a yearly basis. ***.
4.3.5 The passport and citizenship work area ***. This could allow personal information and/or documents to be compromised. A Dutch-door should be installed to restrict access to authorized personnel only. Other Consular staff working with personal information should also be able to lock their office doors.
4.4.1 The Mission accepts credit cards, money orders, cashiers cheques and
cash for transactions under $20, in both USD and CAD currency. Staff should be informed that cash payments over and above the $20 threshold cannot be refused if the client has no other form of payment. When registering Consular revenues, form EXT119 should be numbered for tracking purposes.
4.4.2 Letters of facilitation (LOF) are used on a frequent basis although the Mission is not always adhering to the LOF policy. For Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix, letters are given directly to clients instead of providing them to the airline and/or agent. For New Mexico and Las Vegas, LOF are often created with only a faxed/e-mailed picture of the client and a comparison to the picture in the passport system. LOF are then sent to the airline or directly to the client.
4.4.3 The growing Canadian "snowbird" population presents challenges to the
Program, especially in the Arizona region as there is no Consular staff in the State. At the time of the Inspection, as previously noted in paragraph 3.6.2, the Phoenix office had received 462 general inquiries and 161 walk-ins. Las Vegas is also busy as the Mission is receiving approximately 15 requests for lost/stolen passports per week. The Mission should consider placing an LES Consular resource in Phoenix and the appointment of an Honorary Consul for Las Vegas.
4.4.4 Client feedback forms are made available in the waiting area and
Consular booths. However, only one form was submitted in 2009. The Program should actively encourage people to fill-out feedback forms by providing them to clients at time of service.
4.4.5 Fee schedules are posted in the waiting area and Consular booths in both
official languages. Service standards are met but are not posted in the waiting area. Clients should be informed of the 15 day service standard for passports and not a shorter period in order to appropriately manage client’s expectations. As a best practice, a sample of the official receipt should be posted in the booths.
4.5.1 The Section should be meeting on a regular basis and keeping records of decisions.
4.5.2 The Program should ensure that all Consular related work is included in the COMIP report and filed monthly.
4.5.3 Passport verification and approval should be undertaken by a certified CBS. The decision to use a passport or a LOF should also be taken by a CBS.
4.5.4 Monthly and quarterly passport reconciliations should be performed within the first week of the month. The Mission should ensure that two staff members (at least one CBS) participate in the reconciliation process.
4.5.5 The Mission should ensure that only a working stock of a few days be kept in the operational area.
4.5.6 The Mission should implement a log for tracking passport stock transfers ***.
4.5.8 A Dutch-door should be installed for the Consular work area, restricting access to authorized personnel only.
4.5.9 Staff should be informed that cash payments in CAD currency cannot be refused if the client has no other form of payment.
4.5.10 The Mission should ensure that staff consistently apply the policy on Letters of Facilitation.
4.5.11 The Mission, with the input from HQ, should consider an LES Consular resource in Phoenix, and an Honorary Consul in Las Vegas.
4.5.12 Client feedback forms should be provided to clients when services are provided.
4.5.13 Services standards and a copy of the official receipt should be posted in the waiting area in both official languages.
4.5.1 In Progress for August 2010. The Section currently meets monthly and records of decisions will be put on the Wiki. The restructuring of the Section will result in weekly operational meetings, bi-weekly learning sessions, and monthly staff meetings.
4.5.2 Implemented January 2010. COMIP is currently up-to-date. Monthly COMIP filing has been added to the AG/CS Forward Planning Agenda.
4.5.3 Implemented January 2010. Passport verification and approval is undertaken by a certified CBS. The decision to use a passport or a LOF is taken by a CBS.
4.5.4 Implemented January 2010. Monthly and quarterly passport reconciliations are performed within the first week of the month by two staff members, of which one is a CBS. Passport reconciliation has been added to the Administration and Consular Programs’ (AG/CS) Forward Planning Agenda.
4.5.5 Implemented April 2010. The Mission ensures that passport working stock of only a few days is kept in the operational area.
4.5.6 Implemented April 2010. The Mission has implemented a log for tracking passport stock transfers ***.
4.5.7 In Progress for June 2010. ***. This reconciliation has been added to the AG/CS Forward Planning Agenda.
4.5.8 Implemented February 2010. A Dutch-door was installed.
4.5.9 Implemented January 2010. Staff have been informed that cash payments in CAD currency cannot be refused if the client has no other form of payment.
4.5.10 In Progress for August 2010. The Mission is working within the Regional Consular Strategy to eliminate the issuance of LOF. It is our expectation that LOF will be phased out by late summer. In the meantime, greater attention is being placed on LOF entitlement, with a CBS always signing off on an LOF.
4.5.11 In Progress. The Mission will build a case to create an Honorary Consul in Las Vegas the next time that a call for proposals is made by Consular Policy and Initiatives (CLP).
4.5.12 In Progress for April 2010. The Program is currently developing a strategy to provide all Consular clients (including passport and citizenship clients) with a client feedback form in a self-addressed business-reply envelope. The Program expects the percentage of completed surveys to increase significantly in the coming months.
4.5.13 Implemented December 2009. Service standards and a copy of the official receipt are posted in the waiting area in both official languages.
5.1.1 The Administration Program is managed by the MCO who also holds the role of Mission Security Officer (MSO). The MCO is supported by a DMCO who provides program support for the Property portfolio and assists with Finance, Security and General Administration functions. The MCO has prepared a work plan, indicating specific deadlines, for the period September 2009 to July 2010 which addresses key services in the Administration and Consular Programs.
5.1.2 The Mission has a number of policies such as hospitality, travel, courier
services, overtime, etc. However, many of these are not current as they do not provide clients with updated information to guide them. These should be updated and tabled at the CMM for approval on an annual basis.
5.1.3 Several staff members within the Administration Program have not received an appraisal or a PMP for several years. Staff have recently been asked to enter their responsibilities and objectives into a PMP for this FY however, to date little dialogue between supervisors has taken place.
5.1.4 Job descriptions for several staff members are out of date and do not
properly reflect current duties. A concerted effort to update job descriptions for all staff within the Mission was undertaken in 2000, but many have not been reviewed since that time. As a best practice, these could be reviewed and updated as part of the PMP process.
5.1.5 The Program holds staff meetings on a regular basis, as well as
promoting informal communication as required. Minutes of formal monthly meetings with all staff are maintained although, records of decision are not maintained for the weekly meetings conducted by supervisors.
5.1.6 The official wine stock which is stored at the Official Residence (OR) is
properly inventoried, and accurate files are maintained. Usage is monitored on an event-based basis. An annual verification and reconciliation is conducted between the Majordomo and the Assistant to the HOM. However, the Assistant to the HOM is not physically involved with the count of stock, relying on information provided by the Majordomo.
5.1.7 There is a general lack of up-to-date service standards to guide clients and for staff to be guided by. Service standards in the areas of Finance, Procurement, and Human Resources (HR) are required.
5.1.8 The Common Service budget is used to facilitate payment for Program related expenditures such as transportation, printing, promotional goods, translation, and other purchases. Prior approval from Mission Client Services (ASM) must be obtained in order to facilitate these charges.
5.1.9 There is no support agreement or memorandum of understanding
(MOU) between the satellite offices (San Diego and Phoenix) and the Los Angeles Mission. This has caused uncertainty regarding services available and has led to a feeling by satellite offices that they are not supported to the level required.
5.1.10 The Mission should update all relevant policies and procedures and have them tabled at the CMM for approval.
5.1.11 Records of decisions should be maintained for weekly meetings conducted by supervisors. These minutes should be made available to all staff.
5.1.12 The Mission should ensure that two members of the staff are on hand to conduct the annual reconciliation of the official wine inventory.
5.1.13 Service standards should be developed for all functional areas of the Administration Program in order to provide clients with a clear understanding of what services are available and expected time lines for delivery.
5.1.14 The Mission should consult ASM concerning Program expenditures using Common Service funding.
5.1.15 The Mission should develop an MOU for services to be provided to the satellite missions.
5.1.10 In Progress. The Mission is currently updating the Hospitality and Mobility Tools policies. The Official Vehicle policy and Staffing policies will be reviewed next. The LESMCB is part of the consultative process in the development and updating of these policies. The review of various policies has been added to the AG-CS Forward Planning Agenda.
5.1.11 Implemented December 2009. Records of decisions are posted on the Wiki.
5.1.12 Implemented April 2010. The Mission ensures that two members of the staff (OR Steward and HOM Program Assistant) are on hand to conduct the annual reconciliation of the official wine inventory.
5.1.13 In Progress. Draft Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) and financial service standards have been developed. Property, human resource, and general services standards are in development.
5.1.14 Implemented March 2010. The Mission will consult ASM concerning Program expenditures using Common Service funding. New budgeting and expense tracking procedures have been implemented for FY 2011 which has clarified common service versus program costs.
5.1.15 In Progress for May 2010. An MOU for services will be developed between Los Angeles and Phoenix and between Los Angeles and San Diego.
5.2.1 Management of the HR portfolio is undertaken by the MCO who is supported by an LE-07 Personnel Services Officer. The Mission uses an electronic program (ABRA) to enter and track personnel information and leave and attendance files for staff. Program managers are provided with updates for staff on a regular basis.
5.2.2 Guidelines and service standards for classification reviews, overtime, competitions and hiring practices are not clear to some staff and should be reviewed and updated. These guidelines should be made easily available to staff.
5.2.3 The Mission has not been consistent in the completion of the PMP, nor in the development of a Mission-wide training plan. Although training requirements may be identified in staff PMP's, these are not current or incorporated into a single plan.
5.2.4 Access to Values and Ethics information is provided to all staff electronically upon first joining the Mission. However, the Mission should ensure that annual updates are provided to all staff, possibly through the venue of a town hall meeting.
5.2.5 Either the MCO or the Personnel Officer should be provided administrator access to the PMP report function so that all programs can be advised on a regular basis where PMPs for their employees stand. The report should be provided in April to the CMM for discussion and planning purposes.
5.2.6 A concerted effort by the Program to update all job descriptions was undertaken in 2000. Job descriptions are being maintained in two binders however they have not been updated since the 2000 review. While some job descriptions have been reviewed and changed since then, the original has not been placed in the binders.
5.2.7 The Mission is maintaining LES personnel information and position information on the same file. The Mission should ensure that separate files for the position number and incumbents are created and maintained.
5.2.8 Upon review of personnel files, it was noted that the MCO and DMCO have, in the past, signed letters of offer for emergency employment.
5.2.9 Competition files are well maintained and easily accessible, although they are not consistent in nature. For example, one recent competition had only two panelists conducting the competition although there is a requirement for a minimum of three. As well, these files did not contain copies of letters to unsuccessful internal candidates regarding their right to grieve. Not all files contained a memorandum to the HOM with final recommendations of the Committee.
5.2.10 The Inspection Team met with members of the Locally Engaged Staff Committee. The Committee raised several issues on behalf of all LES:
5.2.11 It should be noted that the first LESMCB meeting took place on November 24, 2009. Terms of reference and guidelines were provided by Management. The LES indicated that they were very pleased to be able to participate in this forum.
5.2.12 The Inspection Team also met with CBS spouses (three spouses were able to attend the meeting). Issues raised were as follows:
5.2.13 The Mission should review HR guidelines and practices and make them available to all staff.
5.2.14 The Mission should ensure that all program managers have completed the PMP process for their staff, within established timelines.
5.2.15 The Mission should develop a Mission-wide training program and submit it to the CMM for approval and funding on an annual basis.
5.2.16 The Mission should ensure that all employees are aware of Values and Ethics guidelines and receive periodic updates.
5.2.17 The Mission should ensure that either the MCO or the Personnel Officer has been provided with administrator access to the PMP system and that updated status reports are provided to the CMM as required.
5.2.18 The Mission should review all job descriptions on a regular basis, or when responsibilities change, to ensure they properly reflect current duties assigned to staff. Both employees and supervisors should sign off on updates. The Mission should also conduct classification reviews for any job description for which the duties have been changed (or added) substantially.
5.2.19 The Mission should arrange to separate position information from personal information for LES files by creating two distinct files.
5.2.20 The Mission should ensure that the HOM signs all letters of offer for
5.2.21 The Mission should ensure that competition files contain all relevant information regarding the staffing action and that they are consistent in nature.
5.2.22 The Mission should arrange to discuss issues relevant to the LES Committee as raised above.
5.2.13 In Progress for April 2010. The results of the Comprehensive Benefits Review were released in March 2010. It is expected that the new Guide to Terms and Conditions of Employment will be released in April 2010.
5.2.14 In Progress for May 2010. Various PMP deadlines have been added to the AG-CS Forward Planning Agenda. Various "promotional materials" related to PMP have been produced in order to make the PMP process clearer to all staff.
5.2.15 In Progress for May 2010. The Training Champion (the STC) is currently working on the training plan.
5.2.16 Implemented January 2010. A Values and Ethics briefing has been formally incorporated into the new employee checklist. An annual Values and Ethics town hall meeting (held by the HOM) has been programmed into the AG-CS Forward Planning Agenda for the month of October.
5.2.17 Implemented January 2010. Both the MCO and the Personnel Officer have administrator access to PMP. PMP updates to the CMM have been added to the AG-CS Forward Planning Agenda.
5.2.18 In Progress for December 2010. A program to review all job descriptions is currently under way.
5.2.19 In Progress for May 2010. The Mission will create two distinct personnel and position files for all positions / employees by the end of May 2010.
5.2.20 Implemented September 2009. The HOM has been signing all letters of offer for employment since September 2009.
5.2.21 In Progress for April 2010. A competition file checklist is being developed and will be used to ensure complete files for all future competitions.
5.2.22 Implemented January 2010. Effective January 2010, the Mission has quarterly LESMCB meetings where issues related to Mission Management (including HR) are regularly discussed. The LESMCB debriefs all Mission staff on the LESMCB meetings at the quarterly all-staff town hall meetings.
5.3.1 The Property, Maintenance and Materiel Section is managed by the AS-04 DMCO. She is assisted by a Management Services Assistant (0.5 FTE) although the incumbent of this position had recently *** from the Mission. The Section maintains a Crown-leased Chancery and a Crown-owned OR. All CBS staff accommodations are privately leased with little involvement required from the Mission.
5.3.2 Although the Mission has recently installed an electronic service order request system, many staff are still not familiar with the program and continue to either e-mail or phone in their requests for goods and services.
5.3.3 Service requests generated by the OR staff are not input into the service order request system as these are currently taken verbally or by e-mail and carried out. In order to provide a history of requests and services required for the OR, these should be input by a member of the Administration staff.
5.3.4 The Mission Property Management Plan (MPMP) and Mission Maintenance Work Plan (MMWP) will be updated shortly as part of the annual process. The Physical Resource Information - Mission Environment (PRIME) data is current although there are several areas where information has been incorrectly entered (size of properties, rooms, etc.). This should be reviewed and corrected during the next scheduled update.
5.3.5 The Mission is not currently using the Materiel Management (MM) module to enter contracts. The Mission should either assign these duties to a member of the Administration Program or contact Contracting Policy, Monitoring and Operations (SPP) to determine if they would be able to provide this service (depending on the number of contracts to be entered).
5.3.6 The Mission does not have a multi-year capital acquisition plan. This should be considered for implementation for the next FY.
5.3.7 The rent ceiling for private leases, which is reviewed every three years, is appropriate. A member of the Inspection Team viewed four private leased properties and found them to be suitable and within the departmental space guidelines.
5.3.8 The Chancery is located in a modern high rise commercial building and is well situated within the downtown area of Los Angeles. The current lease is due to expire in December 2010 and the Mission and the Physical Resources Bureau (ARD) are currently assessing options for either relocating to a new location or renewing the existing lease. If the decision is to renew the existing lease, modifications to the office should be considered in order to strengthen *** infrastructure.
5.3.9 ***. This should be developed and maintained through the use of materiel transfer vouchers (MTVs).
5.3.10 Works of Art inventories for the Chancery and the OR have recently been completed and copies have been sent to ARD although the OR inventory does not have a condition report completed. There are three works of art which have been discovered at the OR which are not part of the departmental inventory. The Mission has been requested to take photos of these pieces and to send them to ARD for categorization and assessment.
5.3.11 The OR is located in a fashionable up-scale area of Los Angeles. The property is well maintained. The Mission has contracted maintenance projects and preventative maintenance issues to a firm which obtains various bids from local contractors. Gardening is undertaken by a contractor.
5.3.13 Cable television and Internet costs are paid directly by the HOM. A percentage has been set for the HOM to reimburse personal share of consumable goods purchased on behalf of the OR.
5.3.14 While the inventory of furnishings and attractive items has recently been completed and signed by the HOM, the inventory does not contain a condition report for all items. The HOM has signed an occupancy agreement, however this was not done until a year after occupying the OR.
5.3.15 The Inspection Team met with the *** and the following issues were raised by the staff: • job descriptions do not reflect current duties - in the case of the Majordomo, he has undertaken substantial responsibilities for event planning and set-up at the OR; in the case of the Housekeeper, she undertakes minor cooking duties which are not in the original job description - these job descriptions should be reviewed and updated as required.
5.3.16 The Mission maintains four official vehicles - vehicle logs are maintained for three of these vehicles. However, vehicle mileage and gas purchase and consumption is not reconciled on a monthly basis. Given that three of these vehicles are driven by multiple users (no driver assigned) the requirement for monitoring and verification of use should be undertaken regularly. No mileage log or verification for gas purchases and mileage driven is undertaken for the HOM’s official vehicle. Operational data for this vehicle should be maintained no differently than other official vehicles within the Mission’s fleet.
5.3.17 A review of disposal files indicates that computer equipment has been disposed of as scrap rather than through the traditional auction process. Official vehicles are disposed of by a closed bidding process open to all Mission staff members, except those involved in the sale or procurement process.
5.3.18 The Mission has an offsite storage facility costing approximately 13,000 USD per year as well as on-site storage (located on the P3 level of the Chancery building) costing approximately 4,000 USD per year). The requirement for these facilities (given the lack of regular disposal sales - there has not been a disposal sale of surplus assets, other than computer equipment as noted above, in recent memory) should be assessed. The Mission should also consider immediate disposal of surplus equipment and furnishings in order to reduce operational costs of leasing storage space.
5.3.19 No Terms of Reference (TORs) exist for the current Contract Review Board (CRB). As well, no formal file exists which could be assessed for control and probity purposes. As the CRB meets virtually to review contracts over the $5,000 threshold, members are afforded little opportunity to raise questions or concerns regarding the contracting process. Letters of agreement have been issued to some contractors (dealing with the PERPA Program) in excess of $5,000, although these were not approved by the CRB. Members should meet as a group from time to time in order to review TORs as well as contracting policies.
5.3.20 The Mission does not maintain a register for contracts which are awarded to suppliers. This made it very difficult for the Inspection Team to analyze contracts as information had to be researched using the monthly accounts. Individual contracts reviewed did not include other bids being considered to ensure a competitive process. A centralized filing system should be implemented for financial document such as contracts, hospitality and travel.
5.3.21 The Mission does not have many formal contracts although they do have
a number of regular maintenance and service suppliers providing service. The Mission should formalize contracting arrangements for services such as security alarm monitoring for the OR, cleaning services at the OR following events, gardening services provided for the OR, security guard services assigned to the Immigration and Consular waiting room, and janitorial services provided at the Chancery.
5.3.22 The Mission has not been entering any contracts into the MM module of the Integrated Management System (IMS). As only person who was trained in the MM Module entry is no longer at the Mission, the Mission should have another individual trained and ensure that a back-up is also designated and trained. Recognizing the challenges, SPP has proposed that the Mission send them the information for the data entry to be facilitated at HQ.
5.3.23 The MCO should organize information sessions regarding the use of the service order request program and proper use of the system so that it can be used to its full potential.
5.3.24 The Mission should ensure that requests for goods and services are properly entered into the service order request system.
5.3.25 PRIME data should be reviewed and updated.
5.3.26 The Mission should use the MM module for entry of contracts into IMS.
5.3.27 The Mission should develop a multi-year capital acquisition plan and table it at the CMM on an annual basis.
5.3.28 The Mission should prepare an inventory of equipment and office furnishings for the Chancery.
5.3.29 The Mission should follow up with ARD concerning works of art which were found at the OR.
5.3.30 The Mission should ensure that inventories and occupancy agreements for the OR are completed in a timely fashion.
5.3.31 The Mission should ensure that verification and reconciliation of all official vehicle usage and fuel purchase and consumption is conducted on a monthly basis using form EXT 159 (Vehicle Operating and Maintenance Report).
5.3.32 The Mission should ensure that staff involved in the sale process or the procurement process are not allowed to be part of the bidding process during Crown asset disposal sales.
5.3.33 The Mission should assess the requirement to maintain leased storage facilities.
5.3.34 The Mission should consider immediate disposal of surplus equipment and furnishings
5.3.35 The Mission should:
5.3.36 The Mission should ensure that all contracts with a value of $5,000 or more are reviewed by the CRB.
5.3.37 A centralized filing system should be created for contracts, hospitality and travel claims.
5.3.38 The Mission should formalize several service agreements by using departmentally approved contract formats - these contracts should then be entered into the MM module.
5.3.39 The Mission should designate and train two employees on the MM module.
5.3.23 Implemented December 2009. Information sessions were held in December 2009.
5.3.24 Implemented January 2010. Requesters are now asked to input their service request into the Service Desk.
5.3.25 Implemented January 2010. PRIME data was reviewed and updated in January 2010.
5.3.26 In Progress for December 2010. The use of MM is currently being review in the context of the Regional Service Centre. Contracts in excess of $10,000 will be forwarded to SPP for entry.
5.3.27 Implemented January 2010. This has been programmed into the AG-CS Forward Planning Agenda.
5.3.28 In Progress for August 2010. A complete inventory will be completed.
5.3.29 In Progress for August 2010. The works of art in question are currently not part of the fine arts inventory. The Mission will follow-up with ARD on this matter when the current HOM rotates out of Los Angeles.
5.3.30 Implemented December 2009. The Mission has incorporated the signing of occupancy agreements and inventories for OR changeovers into turn-over checklists
5.3.31 In Progress for June 2010. This item will be addressed as part of the CMM review of the Mission’s Official Vehicle Policy.
5.3.32 Implemented January 2010. Staff involved in the sale of assets have been advised that they cannot be part of the bidding process.
5.3.33 In Progress for June 2010. The Mission is planning a review of assets in storage and a strategy for disposing of these assets. Once this review is complete, the Mission will be able to release this off-site storage facility.
5.3.34 In Progress for June 2010. See 5.3.33.
5.3.35 In Progress for July 2010. A review of contracting is currently under way. With the recent staffing of the AG-CS Section Administrative Assistant position, a CRB Secretariat has been established with the responsibility to address the recommendations in 5.3.36. Training of the CRB has been added to the AG-CS Forward Planning Agenda.
5.3.36 Implemented December 2009. This has been the practice in the past and will continue to happen in the future.
5.3.37 Implemented April 2010. The CRB Secretariat is responsible for maintaining files relating to contracting. The Senior Accountant is responsible for the hospitality and travel files.
5.3.38 In Progress for August 2010. The Mission is currently working on a security services contract and will be developing additional standing offers for stationary supplies, printing / publishing, and translation.
5.3.39 In Progress for December 2010. See 5.3.26.
5.4.1 The Finance Section is overseen by the MCO with day-to-day management assumed by the DMCO. The team also consists of an LE-07 Accountant who has been at the Mission for 11 years and an LE-05 Assistant Accountant who had formerly served as the Senior Accountant at the Canadian High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica. The Section processes all financial transactions for the Mission as well as the two satellite offices in Phoenix and San Diego.
5.4.2 The Accountant meets with the MCO and program managers on a weekly basis concerning budget issues. For communications within the Section, the team should have regular staff meetings to discuss finance issues and workload. A record of decisions should be kept for future reference.
5.4.3 A thorough financial verification is performed by both the MCO and the DMCO. The DMCO previously served as the Senior Accountant at the Canadian High Commission in Pretoria. Both have good knowledge of the Integrated Management System (IMS) and are able to produce their own reports. The DMCO is very active in the day-to-day financial operations and reviews all documentation before authorizing the payment.
5.4.4 The Mission was not able to provide the Inspection Team with a written agreement between the Mission and the bank. A written agreement including fees and personnel authorized to deal with the account should be on file. The Mission also indicated that all bank statements and written communication are sent directly to the Accountant. These should be sent directly to the MCO or DMCO before they are forwarded to the Finance Section.
5.4.5 Petty cash accounts in Los Angeles were counted, and all were in order.
The Consular petty cash had not been used since 2007, and the Mission was considering closing it. The Mission should ensure that proper procedures are followed and that Financial Operation, International (SMFF) is informed when this account is closed.
5.4.6 Revenues are reconciled and deposited ***. Immigration
revenues are reconciled *** and secured until they are given to the ***. Once the *** completes the deposit form she gives an envelope to the ***. This employee does not know how much money is contained in the envelope and does not sign anything saying he received the envelope. The Mission should have the employee present when the envelope is sealed and have***.
5.4.7 Official receipts are used by the Finance Section when receiving
revenues from staff as well as the Immigration and Consular programs. Only a running stock required for three to four weeks usage should be kept in the Finance Section, and the remainder should be locked-up in a secure cabinet
5.4.8 No process is in place to ensure staff reimburse for the personal use of
Mission cellular telephones. However, a system is already in place for reimbursement for cable and Internet fees at the Official Residence.
5.4.9 There are currently no service standards in place for the Finance
Section. The implementation of such standards would help with client service as clients would have an idea of when to expect the transactions to be completed. This would especially help with clients in the satellite offices. Once developed and approved by the CMM, they should be communicated to clients and made available on the shared drive.
5.4.10 Given that the Mission provides services to two satellite offices, it would be useful to have a time/date stamp in the Accountant's office or the mail room for stamping all financial documents. This would help with service standards as they would know exactly when the claim or invoice was received for payment.
5.4.11 After reviewing hospitality and travel files, oversights were detected
with respect to the account verification controls. Some claims included items that should not have been paid, and some did not have all the supporting documentation. The fact that no quiet hours policy is in place for the Finance Section and that staff are routinely interrupted, likely contributes to this problem. The Mission should implement a quiet hours policy to help the Accountants focus on their work and minimize errors.
5.4.12 The Mission pays most invoices by cheque as many companies are not
comfortable giving out their bank information for Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT). The Mission is using EFT whenever it is accepted by the company but are not promoting this form of payment. A running stock of only three to four weeks of cheques should be kept in the Accountant's safe and the balance stored in the high secure area. The cheques provided by the bank do not match the printer alignment. The printing is too low and thus makes the cheque presentation unprofessional. The printer alignment should be fixed and, if this is not possible, the Mission should consider obtaining cheques that are better suited to the printer.
5.4.13 In order to reduce the amount of cheques that are printed, the
Mission is actively using Acquisition cards. A system has been put in place where a pre-authorisation must be filled-out and signed before the purchase can be undertaken.
Recommendations to the Mission
5.4.14 The Finance Section should hold regular staff meetings and records of decisions should be kept on file and posted on the shared drive.
5.4.15 The Mission should contact the bank to obtain a copy of the agreement and, if none is available, one should be negotiated.
5.4.16 The Mission should ensure that bank statements and communication with the bank is addressed to the MCO or the DMCO before it is forwarded to the Finance Section.
5.4.17 A formalized process should be established for employees to reimburse the Mission for personal use of Mission cellular telephones.
5.4.18 Service standards should be implemented, approved by CMM and communicated to clients.
5.4.19 The Mission should purchase a time/date stamp for financial documents.
5.4.20 The Finance Section should implement quiet hours for the Accountants.
5.4.21 The Mission should actively encourage the use of EFT payments.
5.4.22 The Mission should resolve the cheque printer alignment problem.
5.4.14 Implemented January 2010. Finance Section meetings are held, with records of decisions saved on the shared drive.
5.4.15 In Progress for August 2010. In the context of the Regional Service Centre model, the Mission is currently looking at switching banks. A negotiated agreement will be a part of the change.
5.4.16 Implemented December 2009. Bank statements, etc. are now delivered to the MCO.
5.4.17 In Progress for April 2010. This forms part of the Mission’s Mobility Tools Policy that is to be reviewed by the CMM by the end of April 2010.
5.4.18 In Progress for June 2010. Draft service standards have been developed. The Missions is waiting for service standards to be developed by all the Administration sections before presenting them to the CMM.
5.4.19 Implemented January 2010. The Mission has purchased a time/date stamp for financial documents.
5.4.20 Implemented January 2010. The Finance Section employees have been advised that they may use "quiet hours" and that the decision to do so will be supported by Mission Management. At the moment there is no requirement to do so. However, the Mission will continue to manage workload and interruptions and implement quiet hours if and as necessary.
5.4.21 In Progress for August 2010. The Mission is currently processing a small number of payments via EFT. The Program will explore a larger roll-out of EFT transactions once banking arrangements are finalised (per response 5.4.15).
5.4.22 Implemented January 2010. This has been resolved.
5.5.1 Information Management / Information Technology (IM/IT) support for the Mission managed by the DMCO, who is supported by an LE-09 Informatics Specialist Officer (ISO) and an LE-07 Systems Administrator (SA).
5.5.2 There is no overall plan for the management of IM/IT in the Mission, however the Locally Engaged Information Technology Professionals (LEITPs) have their own personal work plans, and are guided by tasks as assigned in the Remedy help desk system. In order to develop his personal work plan, the Informatics Specialist Officer works with the MCO and DMCO to understand the needs of the Mission.
5.5.3 There are no formal meetings within the Section, however the Informatics Specialist Officer participates in the monthly Information Technology Professional teleconferences, attends the monthly Administration meetings, meets weekly with the MCO, and has ad hoc meetings with the DMCO. The ISO has frequent ad hoc meetings with the System Administrator.
5.5.4 The *** job description is up-to-date, and he has done his PMP with his supervisor. He has identified learning needs and signed up for courses on Canadian Foreign Service Institute's (CFSI) website. The PMP for the *** is not complete, however his job description is up to date.
5.5.5 Both LEITPs indicated that while they make use of the Remedy system, they do not always account for very minor support actions in the system. The MCO periodically monitors IT service at the Mission through the Enterprise Service Management portal, however the DMCO does not. The ISO is aware of generic 2004 service standards (by ASM) although he could not find them. There are no local service standards.
5.5.6 ***. There are two copies of the quarterly backup tape, one of which is stored ***. Weekly tapes are stored *** in a fireproof safe. The Informatics Specialist Officer was, at the time of the Inspection, working on a Business Continuity Plan which identifies a specific location designated as the Alternate Command Post. Satellite telephones have recently been received and tested.
5.5.7 The Mission should create an overall IM/IT operations plan, with key deliverables, resource allocation and dates.
5.5.8 The DMCO should establish regular formal Section meetings.
5.5.9 The DMCO should ensure that all PMPs are completed for the IM/IT Section.
5.5.10 The DMCO should ensure that up to date local service standards are established for IM/IT support and services.
5.5.11 The DMCO should ensure that a ***.
5.5.12 The Mission should ensure that the Business Continuity Plan is completed, tested, and communicated to all relevant staff.
5.5.7 Implemented January 2010. An IM/IT work plan is in place.
5.5.8 Implemented January 2010. Section meetings are being held.
5.5.9 In Progress for June 2010. The PMP process will be fully implemented for FY 2011.
5.5.10 In Progress for June 2010. Draft service standards have been developed. The Mission is waiting for service standards to be developed by all the Administration sections before presenting them to the CMM.
5.5.11 In Progress for April 2010. *** will be purchased in April 2010.
5.5.12 In Progress for May 2010. This is a much larger project than only IM/IT. A BCP Committee will be formed in May 2010 and will have on-going responsibilities for planning, implementing, and testing the Mission’s BCP.
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased||Private Leased|
|Financial Information 2009-2010||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$ 96,167||$2,381,876|
|Capital Budget (N005)||-||$32,028|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||-||-|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$1,800,687||$1,424,802|
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased||Private Leased|
|Financial Information 2009-2010||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$25,029||$296,391|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$0||$11,320|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$0||$0|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$208,734||$0|
|Assets||Crown Owned||Crown Leased||Private Leased|
|Financial Information 2009-2010||Program Budget||Common Services Budget|
|Operating Budget (N001)||$38,838||$136,738|
|Capital Budget (N005)||$0||$6,400|
|CBS Salaries Budget (N011)||$0||$0|
|LES Salaries Budget (N012)||$259,327||$0|