The Auditor General presented the findings, conclusions and recommendations from his report to the Toronto Board of Health in December 2007.
Because the City’s pandemic planning is still in progress, the purpose of the audit was to provide a snapshot of what the City has accomplished and what work remains to be completed in preparing for a pandemic emergency. The overall audit question is: “To the extent possible, how prepared is the City for a potentially severe pandemic?” We are cognizant that this should only be answered within the context of what the City can realistically achieve as a municipal government in pandemic planning, in particular considering the City’s current fiscal constraints and the need for provincial and federal guidance and coordination. In addition, the substantial degree of uncertainty surrounding a possible pandemic influenza makes planning for a pandemic emergency a complex and difficult task.
The City has undertaken a number of planning activities, and is working towards implementing key actions such as stockpiling personal protective equipment and essential operational supplies. Certain important pandemic public health measures remain to be completed, some of which are dependent upon federal or provincial guidance. The City has established a framework for pandemic planning and preparedness in which public health related planning is led by Toronto Public Health, and corporate planning for continuity of operations is led by the Pandemic Influenza Steering Committee. Our audit noted certain challenges and gaps in the pandemic planning and preparedness process, and as a result our report includes a number of recommendations to help strengthen the existing accountability framework and corporate coordination, as well as enhancing the completion of pandemic public health planning.