Au­di­tor cites poor re­turn on in­vest­ment

North Bay Nugget - - OPINION - — Lor­rie Gold­stein

au­di­tor gen­eral bon­nie Lysyk’s 201718 an­nual re­port on the per­for­mance of the now-de­funct on­tario Lib­eral gov­ern­ment dur­ing its fi­nal fis­cal year in power is a fitting nail in the cof­fin of their 15-year reign of er­ror that started in 2003.

yet again, it is rife with ex­am­ples of Lib­eral mis­spending, in­com­pe­tence and bla­tant and in­ap­pro­pri­ate po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence in de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

When it comes to the waste presided over by for­mer premier Kath­leen Wynne and the Lib­er­als in 2017-18, be­fore vot­ers re­duced them to un­of­fi­cial sta­tus in the June 7 elec­tion, Lysyk’s dev­as­tat­ing as­sess­ment of their over­sight of on­tario’s wel­fare sys­tem speaks vol­umes.

Lysyk re­ported that since the last au­dit of the on­tario Works pro­gram in 2009, costs have risen 55 per cent to more than $3 bil­lion, with 450,000 re­cip­i­ents and their de­pen­dents now on the pro­gram.

the av­er­age num­ber of monthly cases has in­creased by al­most 25 per cent.

the length of time peo­ple col­lect ben­e­fits has nearly dou­bled from an av­er­age of 19 con­sec­u­tive months to al­most three years.

only 10 to 13 per cent of re­cip­i­ents left on­tario Works for em­ploy­ment in each of the last five years — which is the pur­pose of the pro­gram — while the gov­ern­ment’s so­cial ser­vices min­istry “did not have a tar­get to re­duce the time in­di­vid­u­als de­pend on as­sis­tance.”

Lysyk con­cluded on­tario Works is “not meet­ing (its) man­date to help re­cip­i­ents ob­tain em­ploy­ment and be­come sel­f­re­liant.”

that’s con­sis­tent with her con­clu­sions in most of the 15 value-for-money au­dits she per­formed this year.

they cite ev­ery­thing from lax fi­nan­cial over­sight of stu­dent grants, to cost over­runs and de­lays in light rail tran­sit projects su­per­vised by metrolinx, to con­cerns about pro­tect­ing the pri­vacy of res­i­dents’ con­fi­den­tial data in Water­front toronto’s deal with google-af­fil­i­ated Side­walk Labs, cre­at­ing a mixed-use “smart city” com­mu­nity at Quay­side.

“a cen­tral find­ing in al­most all of our au­dits this year was that spend­ing of pub­lic monies did not con­sis­tently re­sult in the cost-ef­fec­tive achieve­ment of an­tic­i­pated pro­gram ben­e­fits, or the proac­tive ad­dress­ing of pro­gram risks,” Lysyk wrote.

While Premier doug Ford’s Pro­gres­sive con­ser­va­tives praised Lysyk’s find­ings to the skies, they had best start pre­par­ing for next year, when they’ll be her tar­get.

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