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Taxpayers Federation calls for better oversight in the wake of Auditor General’s annual report

Author: Jay Goldberg 2021/12/01

Toronto, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the Ford government to tighten controls on pandemic spending in the wake of the Auditor General’s annual report, which shows nearly $1 billion of pandemic relief went to ineligible businesses.

“While the government had to react quickly at the onset of the pandemic, governments were repeatedly warned about the dangers of not doing due diligence,” said Jay Goldberg, the CTF’s Ontario Director. “Taxpayers expect governments to spend their money wisely. Handing nearly $1 billion to businesses not eligible for pandemic funds shows governments need to do more to make sure taxpayers’ money doesn’t go to the wrong people.”

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report, released today, shows the Ford government gave $210 million to 14,500 small businesses that were not eligible for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant.

The report also notes that the province gave some businesses more assistance than the revenue they lost due to the pandemic, costing taxpayers an additional $714 million.

According to the Auditor General, the Ford government has no intention of trying to recover the funds.

“After bungling the pandemic aid rollout, the Ford government should ensure taxpayers’ money is recovered,” said Goldberg. “Taxpayer dollars should not be going to businesses that fail to meet eligible requirements.”