FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2017
Wynne Government Continues Wasteful Spending—Auditor General Report
Queen’s Park—Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has released her annual report revealing out-of-control cancer surgery wait times, $17.4 million spent on government ads designed “to make the government look good,” and taxpayers being overcharged millions on their hydro bill.
“There is a culture of waste at Queen’s Park that has festered under Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals for 14 years,” said MPP Jeff Yurek. “Every year it’s the same story again and again, the Auditor General exposes billions of dollars in needless waste by this government that crowds out the services we all depend on,” stated Yurek.
“It’s time for a change in Ontario. The Ontario PCs will put the people first – not the insiders. We will ensure that hard-earned tax dollars are respected by putting an end to wasteful Wynne government spending at Queen’s Park,” Yurek concluded.
Highlights from the Auditor General’s report:
- Nine gas and coal companies claimed $260 million in ineligible costs that hit ratepayers on their hydro bills.
- Since 2010, the Ontario Energy Board has been recommending changes to programs that generating companies have used to game the system.
- The government’s electricity programs have transferred $245 million worth of costs – mainly to cover ineffective renewable contracts – from big multinational companies to small mom and pop shops and families.
- The Wynne Liberals spent $17.4 million on government advertisements that the Auditor General says are “intended to make the government look good.” The total government advertising budget has reached a 10-year high.
- The Auditor identified 321 projects worth $49 million between 2013-2014 and 2016-2017 that were awarded to hand-picked companies.
- Taxpayers paid nearly $19 million to operate and maintain 812 vacant buildings. In total the government could have saved $170 million a year on buildings that currently sit empty.
- One of the companies selected by Infrastructure Ontario to manage capital projects worth $900 million had performed poorly on a previous contract between 2011 and 2014.
- Students have been performing below the provincial standards in math since 2008-2009. It was not until 2016, that the province began allocating funding to school boards to improve student math achievement.
- For three of the four school boards visited by the Auditor General, nearly a quarter of special needs students are waiting longer than a year to receive psychological, and speech and language assessments.
- The Cabinet Committee on Emergency Management has not met for several years, and the province hasn’t updated the provincial risk assessment since 2012, meaning Ontario is not fully prepared for any new challenges relating to cybersecurity, climate change, and terrorism.
- Despite technological advances, the Ministry of Health has not updated the price list it pays to community labs since 1999. This would have resulted in savings of millions of dollars per year. In 2015-2016, the Auditor General estimated we overpaid laboratory service providers by at least $39 million.
- The Ministry of Health has not updated its PET scan eligibility criteria since 2013, meaning 41 per cent of the province’s capacity was unused.
- Only one third of the Auditor General’s recommendations from the 2015 report have been fully implemented.
- Contained within the Auditor General’s report is more than $1 billion in Wynne Liberal waste.