L. Denis Desautels was Auditor General of Canada from April 1, 1991 until March 31, 2001. At the time of his appointment, Mr. Desautels was a senior partner in the Montreal Office of Ernst & Young (formerly Clarkson Gordon). In addition to a distinguished career in the private sector, Mr. Desautels had extensive experience in public sector auditing and accounting at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
Mr. Desautels was born in St-Bruno, Quebec in 1943. He attended schools in Montreal and earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from McGill University in 1964. He joined the firm of Clarkson Gordon in Montreal and became a Chartered Accountant in 1966.
In his 27 years with Ernst & Young, he served the firm in various capacities and in a number of offices, namely Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec. He also carried out a number of significant assignments for the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and for a number of public sector organizations. At the time of his appointment as Auditor General, he was Ernst & Young’s Regional Director of Consulting Services for the Province of Quebec and the National Capital Region.
In recognition of his contribution to the auditing and accounting professions, he was awarded the designation “Fellow” by the Order of Chartered Accountants of Quebec in 1986. He had been a member of the Public Sector Accounting and Auditing Committee of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) since its foundation in 1981, and Chairman of the Committee for 1984-1985. He was awarded the designation of Fellow by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 1991. He was invested as Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1997 by the Archbishop of Ottawa and, more recently, he received honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa, the University of Waterloo and Saint Paul University. He also has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.
As Auditor General of Canada, Mr. Desautels was responsible for conducting examinations of the operations of the Government of Canada and of its numerous Crown corporations and agencies, as well as those of Canada’s three territorial governments. The Auditor General’s reports to Parliament cover a wide range of issues dealing with accountability and the management of government programmes and the delivery of services to the public.
He has been a member of the Board of Directors of CARE Canada, the International Development Research Centre, Alcan Inc., the Laurentian Bank of Canada, the Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc., Bombardier Inc. and a number of other volunteer organizations.
He was also Chair of the Accounting Standards Oversight Council of the CICA and the Selection Committee of the Prime Minister’s Award for Outstanding Achievement, and a member of the Expert Panel on Securities Regulation in Canada and the Parliament Precinct Oversight Advisory Committee.
Mr. Desautels is married to Shirley Leuthold. Mr. and Mrs. Desautels have three sons: Marc, Pierre and André and eight grand-children.