Following the release of the Ontario Auditor General’s 2015 Annual Report, the question of what is next for Ontario is a valid one. Bonnie Lysyck, the AG, brought other questions to the surface; Can Premier Wynne and the Liberals be trusted to change the way they govern? Do they want to? Can Ontario ever recover from the bad decisions Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have made about our energy and the price we pay for electricity?
The AG’s Report identified that Ontarians paid $37 billion more that we should have because of decisions made by both the McGuinty and Wynne governments. They ignored the expert opinions and made political decisions. We are expected to pay Billions more in the next few years while producing too much energy for our needs.
Increased funding in the Community Care Access Centres has NOT resulted in better service for those in need of care in their homes. Wait times are as long as they were before the funding increase. While the AG did not investigate funding for hospitals, 4 years of 0% funding increases to Ontario hospitals are putting additional strains on our healthcare.
The government says it is investing in business; but the AG states that there is no attempt to measure if the investments are actually delivering the jobs that were meant as part of the investment agreement. There were also concerns from Ms. Lysyck that the $1.4B invested was for the most part going to large corporations and companies she described as having ties to the Ontario Liberals.
The government will have spent over half a BILLION dollars on the implementation of two computer systems that are meant to help the young and vulnerable of Ontario by 2020, when these were meant to be in place years before that. The Social Assistance Management Systems (SAMS) and Child Protection Information Network (CPIN) both have had delays; with SAMS taking the cake as Project Managers released SAMS in a ‘big bang launch’ knowing that it was not ready and had thousands of defects. In the private sector, heads would roll for such decisions. The flaws in SAMS caused overpayments, underpayments and overpayments that were not actual overpayments but reported as such, to families, youth and adults receiving these benefits. CPIN came out of the Jeffery Baldwin Inquiry in 2012; to date 5 of 47 Children’s Aid Societies have rolled out CPIN. While the government will spend millions more into it (for a total of $250 million), the individual agencies are also spending millions more than budgeted, out of their operating budgets, taking the system live – money that should be going to child protection services and programs.
The 2015 Auditor General’s Annual report has raised several questions about the performance of Kathleen Wynne and her government. The timing of her report is interesting as it follows the publishing of Dalton McGuinty’s new book “Making a Difference”. Both publications present a case for “making a difference”, whether it’s a good or bad is up for debate.
The government only has to withstand four more days of Question Period in Queen’s Park before the house rises for the winter break, can it survive intact without any casualties?
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