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Auditor looks at enviro-financial readiness

Auditor looks at enviro-financial readinessCommissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Scott Vaughan waits to speak in Ottawa, on May 8, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - Canada's environment commissioner will release a report today on whether the federal government has enough financial safeguards in place to deal with a major disaster, such as an oil spill.

For its latest report to Parliament, the commissioner's office looked at a number of environmental financial assurances the government seeks from industry.

They include letters of credit and insurance to help shield taxpayers from the costs of cleaning up from an environmental disaster.

Auditors also scrutinized government systems for obtaining and managing environmental financial assurances from mining, nuclear and marine transportation companies.

In December 2010 the commissioner warned that the government's national emergency response plan was out of date.

Scott Vaughan noted at that time that there's at least one oil spill reported to the Coast Guard every day — most of them small.

And he relayed concerns that the government was not ready to respond to a major spill.

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