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Description found in Archives
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Scope and content
Series consists of records created and/or accumulated by the Executive Council, in performing its function as a board of audit, in auditing the provincial public accounts. In Upper Canada this activity was initially performed by the full Executive Council or by a committee of the whole sitting as a board of audit. In performing its audit function, the Executive Council would form itself into a committee of the whole as the need arose (or as it was summoned to do by the Lieutenant Governor), rather than assign the audit to a permanent committee made up of only some members, as was done in some other colonies. The surviving records of the audit process consist of documents created by the board of audit, its secretary (the Clerk of the Executive Council) and the Inspector General during their examination of the accounts, as well as the statements of account and supporting documents submitted to the board. These include "schedules" of accounts examined; "statements" of revenues collected and of expenditures, with vouchers, correspondence and other documents submitted to justify or explain the statements; the "remarks" of the Inspector General on the validity of statements and supporting documents; a set of entry books used for the period 1800-1810 to record texts of submissions; and several sequences of "warrant books" recording the full text or an abstract of warrants issued to authorize payments by the Receiver General pursuant to the auditing of accounts. The lists of accounts examined ("schedules") prefaced each bundle of statements of account submitted by the head of each government office, department or agency. Vouchers justifying the expenditures were numbered and attached to the statements. In that the statements and vouchers were examined by the Inspector General of Public Accounts prior to board meetings, his remarks on their validity may be found as separate reports or attached to those documents. The findings of the board on the validity of accounts were recorded in minutes, known as "reports" when entered in the state minute books. The text of specific minutes is found endorsed on some submissions, and in the entry books for 1800-1810. The Clerk of the Council, as secretary to the board of audit, used the "schedule" as an agenda for the presentation of accounts to the board of audit in each half-year period and numbered the accounts to correlate with the minutes. The Inspector General keyed his "remarks" to those account numbers. In turn, vouchers and supporting documents were numbered to correlate with each statement of account. Other numeric and alpha-numeric sequences were used to correlate the warrants authorizing payments to the statements. These various systems provided the Inspector General, the Receiver General and other officials with efficient means of tracing relationships between minutes and statements, statements and vouchers, or statements and warrants. Vouchers and statements have been arranged in numeric sequence according to the schedules under which they were presented for audit. Thus a reference found in the minutes entered in the state minute books may be traced to the corresponding statements and vouchers with the aid of the Shelf List.
Consultation of the records in this series is unrestricted. However, where a document's size, fragility, binding or method of attachment may pose a risk of damage in handling, no photoduplication will be permitted.
Textual records The finding aid also includes an Introduction which provides: extensive explanatory notes on the nature of the records and the government structures that produced them; comments on the inter-relationships among the records within the present series and those in other series and other fonds; a glossary of terminology; and suggestions for developing research strategies to get the most use possible from the records.
MSS1944 90 (Electronic)
Textual records The finding aid provides a description of the records at the file-title level. Each account is treated as a file. Part I of the finding aid provides a chronologically-ordered listing of accounts (statements, vouchers and other supporting documents) presented to the board of audit (covering vols. 1-121), plus an analytical listing of the entry books and warrant books (vols. 122-150). It also describes related volumes in other series of the present fonds, and in other fonds, the physical transfer of which to the present series was not practicable. Part II presents the same information about the accounts (vols. 1-121) arranged by the offices forming the Civil Establishment. MSS1944 90 (Electronic)
Textual records The CAB RG 1 Shelf List (see RG 1, E 15 B section) is a typed volume-level description which provides period of audit (year) and volume number for vols. 1-121. For vols. 122-150 (the registers of warrants) it indicates type of record, inclusive dates, and current volume numbers; for ease of locating antiquated references, former volume numbers are also provided. CAB RG 1 Shelf List 90 (Paper)
Biography / Administrative history
From the appointment in 1801 of John McGill as Inspector General and Comptroller of the Public Provincial Accounts, it was that officer who carried out the examination in detail of the public accounts, sent to him half-yearly by the Clerk of Council. The Inspector General facilitated the board's task by previewing the statements and vouchers, querying irregularities, requesting justification of exceptional charges, and providing the board with his "Remarks" on the validity of documents submitted for audit. Thereafter, the function performed in the Executive Council was one of review of the Inspector General's work, confirming or disallowing the recommendations of the Inspector General. Nevertheless, the nature of roles and responsibilities was such that, despite the fact that the detailed work was performed by the Inspector General, his task was still described in contemporary records as the "examination" of the accounts. The members of the Executive Council still sat as a "board of audit" to rule upon his findings, and their function was still referred to as the "audit". Moreover, this is not to suggest that the role of the Executive Council as a board of audit became merely perfunctory following the appointment of the Inspector General. Indeed, measured by the number of Council meetings taken up with the audit of the accounts, the Council continued to devote a considerable proportion of its time to this function. The role of the Executive Council, sitting as a board of audit, during the period of the Province of Upper Canada, should not be confused with that of the Board of Audit created in the Province of Canada as a result of the 1855 Audit Act. While it is true that the records of the Executive Council of Upper Canada (e.g., the minutes) do frequently refer to the accounts reviewing body of the Council as a "board of audit", contemporary documents also make the point that the audit functions of the Council in the Upper Canada period were not the same as those carried out from 1855 after the creation of a separate Board of Audit. Indeed, the 1839 Commission which investigated the government departments in Upper Canada made the point that the Executive Council did not function as a true "board of audit" as that term was understood by the commissioners of the day. One of the recommendations of the 1839 Commission was that a true Board of Audit be created.
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