Canada's Auditor-General is warning an audit into Senate expenses will take 18 months, suggesting its final results will ultimately roll out during an election year.
Auditor-General Michael Ferguson's office issued a statement Friday confirming his intention "to look at all senators' expenses" but cautioning that his office is still planning the audit. "We expect the work will move ahead shortly," the written statement said.
Performance audits typically take 18 months, and Mr. Ferguson's office said he would stick to "our established methodology," despite the strong interest in an audit that comes after questions about the spending of senators Patrick Brazeau, Mike Duffy, Mac Harb and Pamela Wallin.
"However, as we understand that people may not want to wait up to 18 months to receive information, we hope to be able to provide some form of interim reporting," the Auditor-General's office's statement said Friday.
Canada's next federal election is due in 2015. Without interim reporting, the audit could push up against campaign season, particularly if it takes longer than expected. It's still unclear, for instance, how far back the auditors will go when looking at senators' expenses – the longer the period of examination, the longer the audit could take.
Mr. Ferguson's office said the AG will not give interviews or make any further statement "until a report is presented."
The Senate voted in June to invite the auditor in. On June 11, he said his office had "yet to determine the scope of the audit." He now intends to look at all senators' expenses, though he said Friday that "some decisions remain to be finalized."