QUEEN’S PARK – The Auditor-General for Ontario released her 2014 Annual report today, providing audits into 12 Government programs to examine their value for money.
“The Auditor’s findings outline a mind-boggling disregard for public money” – MPP Jim McDonell commented. “The Liberals provided a $235 million public loan to the struggling MaRS building project in downtown Toronto without a business plan and without any strings attached, and then bought out the developer for another $308 million. Taxpayers are left with an unfinished building and a money pit that would require above-market rent to break even. This kind of reckless bailout is an insult to the Ontarians who need Government services most, and are seeing their eligibility for them cut”.
MaRS could never have qualified for the Infrastructure Ontario loan, however the Government made a special exception and the value-for money for taxpayers “remains to be seen”.
Ontarians with a developmental disability often require residential services that meet their needs. The Auditor-General examined the provision of residential services by the Province. “There are as many Ontarians in residential services for the developmentally disabled as there are on the waiting list” – MPP McDonell stated. “If the lists were frozen today, it would take 22 years to clear the waiting lists we have today. Despite the Government increasing funding by 14% for residential services, less than a quarter of intended extra clients actually received any service. Where has the money gone?”
The Annual Report also detailed the outcome of investigations into Ministry of Education oversight of licensed daycares and Smart Meters.
“The Government rammed Bill 10 through the Legislature without allowing the public to provide any input” – said MPP McDonell. “The tragedies that supposedly led to Bill 10 were due, as the Ombudsman stated, to a failure by the Ministry of Education to oversee and enforce existing daycare legislation. The Auditor-General clearly states that the Government’s supervision of daycares is lacking – Over the past 5 years, the Ministry received 29,000 reports of serious occurrences and 2850 complaints, but it only took 18 enforcement actions. However their response is to reduce the availability and affordability of daycare for working Ontarians. The Auditor-General also identified that Smart Meters were introduced with no business case or cost-benefit analysis. When the Liberals did eventually produce the latter, they overestimated the benefits by 85%. Moreover, the Government wasted $249 million on a Smart Meter data collection centre the companies didn’t need as they already implemented their own systems. All the Smart Meters did was cause several families to receive unjustifiably high electricity bills, plunging them into economic hardship.”
A copy of the report is viewable online at http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_2014_en.htm
“As with many previous Annual Reports, the Auditor-General brings to light the Liberals’ ongoing disregard for the tax dollars taken from hard-working Ontarians” – MPP McDonell concluded. “I praise the Auditor-General’s investigative work and will continue to fight against the waste and mismanagement that are threatening our families’ well-being and the public services we treasure.”