In her opening message accompanying her audits of several COVID-19 relief programs, Auditor General of Canada Karen Hogan praised the work of public service workers, noting that while the government wasn’t necessarily prepared for a crisis of this magnitude, workers “adjusted to prioritize the needs of Canadians during the emergency situation, and sustained those efforts for more than a year. We saw that when multi‑departmental coordination is prioritized and focused on outcomes, the public service can make it work.”

This validation of the incredible efforts of ACFO-ACAF members and all public service workers is a welcome affirmation of the professionalism of our community. We know this pandemic has been difficult for all of us. We’ve heard from you about the challenges of adapting to isolation, juggling priorities during an uncertain time and otherwise doing your best to cope with the ever-changing situation. Rest assured, your professionalism and dedication to serving Canadians has not gone unnoticed

The Auditor General noted that while not everything was done perfectly, “the public service focused on the desired outcome: helping Canadians fast. Public servants—who are Canadians like you and me—made this happen while also living through the pandemic and adjusting to very different working conditions. Their ability to work differently during the pandemic—to learn, change, and course‑correct in real time—has shown what a service mindset can accomplish.”

We know that our work on these files isn’t done. As the Auditor General herself noted, the decision to prioritize speed puts an added importance on post-payment verifications – work that many of you are already deeply embedded in as we work through year end. But I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through the opening message and celebrate what we’ve accomplished as a public service community. Canadians depended on us during an unprecedented crisis and we found a way to deliver.