Public Sector Spending (Canada)

visa

Man this is wild!

Leather jackets, DVDs, flowers, chocolates and all-inclusive trips to the Caribbean are just a few of the credit card expenses worth millions that public-sector workers racked up at taxpayer expense, according to Ontario’s auditor general.

Jim McCarter reported Tuesday that few of the suspicious charges claimed by provincial employees such as teachers, power corporation executives and children’s aid society executives were backed up by any credit card slips.

Some examples from the report:

* Hydro One staff bought $127 million worth of goods and services, and Ontario Power Generation staff spent $6.5 million without documentation.
* One Hydro One employee spent $50,000 on items mostly for her boss’s personal use.
* A teacher bought $4,000 in DVDs, eyeglasses and Christmas lights while on school break.
* One employee bought $48 in flowers and sent them to herself on her birthday.
* OPG managers spent $300,000 on gifts, including 40 leather jackets worth $8,000.
* One teacher spent $52,000 over two years, including $4,000 on DVDs, eyeglasses and Christmas lights.
* Another teacher charged $11,000 over two years, including $2,800 on candies, chocolates and household supplies
* Executives at one Children’s Aid Society bought SUVs worth up to $59,000 and trips to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean.

McCarter alleges even legitimate expenses sometimes resulted in some costly improper spending. Hydro One contracted a company to do work worth $120,000. Without competitive bidding, the contract ballooned over eight years to $6.7 million, McCarter reports.

He noted that policies are in place to prevent any use of taxpayer funds, and he blamed the abuses on poor supervision.

“It would be management not doing its job,” he said.

More Ont. health cards than people?

McCarter raised alarm bells over an allegation there are 300,000 more health cards in the province than there are people.

According to the report, most of the extra cards belong to people supposedly in the Toronto area or near the U.S. border, and McCarter estimated the users of the extra cards could be defrauding the public of $150 million every year.

Health Minister George Smitherman immediately refuted figures in the report, saying the ministry’s numbers indicate there are 400,000 fewer health cards than the figure in the report.

That means the number of OHIP cards roughly matches the Ontario population, Smitherman said. (CBC)

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