Highlights from the auditor general’s fall report, released Tuesday

OTTAWA – Highlights of the report released Tuesday by auditor general Michael Ferguson:

— The September 2012 recall of seven million kilograms of beef products from XL Foods in Alberta, the largest recall in the country’s history, highlighted serious problems at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The audit says the agency needs to improve the way it handles such crises.

— The government’s national shipbuilding strategy was efficient and transparent in selecting the yards to build new vessels for the navy and coast guard, but the hard cost caps set for individual projects may mean fewer ships than required or reduced capabilities.

— There are significant weaknesses in the oversight of rail safety. The audit, done just before the devastating Lac-Megantic crash last summer, found that Transport Canada has more to do on safety issues, including the collection of safety performance from the railways and the implementation of safety-management systems. There are also issues around level crossings, trespassing and environmental concerns.

— The Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP need to tighten border security work and take steps to better measure how effective they are at keeping illegals out.

— The Canada Revenue Agency did a good job of following up on leaked reports of Canadians with offshore accounts in Liechtenstein. It collected $24.65 million in taxes penalties and interest. Most of its auditors were conducted in a timely manner, although it has no standards for undue delay. It has agreed to set such standards.

— The Canadian government has done little since 2005 to improve its online services for citizens.