The Auditor General is the fiscal watchdog of Nova Scotia. Currently, the province operates more than 100 public organizations and collectively, these organizations are managing about $13.7 billion of public money; money that comes from Nova Scotia taxpayers.
Our office provides assurance through annual financial audits that provide information Nova Scotians need to judge how well public resources are being used. Our performance audits, often called “value-for-money audits,” measure and report on the effectiveness of programs and organizations within the province.
The Auditor General’s Office has a staff of 37, including senior principals, principals, managers, senior audit officers and audit officers (CPA students).
Financial Audit Team: The Office examines and audits the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Province of Nova Scotia and issues an opinion on whether they are fairly presented and comply with appropriate accounting principles. Financial statement audits are conducted in accordance with Canadian Auditing Standards set out by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
Performance Audit Team: The performance audit team conducts performance or value-for-money audits which examine whether government programs, operations, systems, activities, or organizations are operating in accordance with the principles of effectiveness, economy, and efficiency. Our Office conducts audits to provide practical and constructive advice to improve government performance and we assess government’s implementation of our audit recommendations after two years. The Office’s performance audits are carried out in accordance with auditing standards set out by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
The Office can trace its roots back to 1909, when the Audit Act created the office of the Provincial Auditor as an independent watchdog responsible for auditing public accounts.
In 1926, the role was discontinued for more than a decade while a chartered accountant, appointed annually by the government, performed the role.
By 1942, the office of the Provincial Auditor was re-established as part of the Department of the Provincial Treasurer and by 1958 the Provincial Auditor was made independent and renamed Auditor General.
Over the years there have been several notable milestones including:
- 1950: Provincial Auditor given the powers of a public inquiry commissioner
- 1973: Auditor General Act, separate from the Provincial Finance Act, passed
- 1994: Auditor General begins reporting on government's annual revenue estimates
- 1998: Auditor General begins reporting annually to the House of Assembly on the financial statements included in the tabled Public Accounts respecting the fiscal year end
- 2005: The appointment of the Auditor General is made subject to approval by the House of Assembly and the tenure of office limited to a ten-year non-renewable term
- 2010: Auditor General Act passed
- 2020: Province names Kim Adair as the first woman to be Auditor General of Nova Scotia