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The auditor general just gave the premier a thoughtful Christmas gift: a 1,000-page to-do list.
For the past few years, the Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report has been more like a gift for the opposition and a lump of coal for the government.
Year - Government - Convenient - Excuse - Everything
This year, the government has the convenient excuse of blaming everything in the report on the previous government. After all, the programs and spending reviewed were related to decisions by the previous government. But that doesn’t get Premier Doug Ford off the hook for what comes next. The auditor general has essentially handed his government a to-do list of immediate changes that need to be made, especially if the government is serious about tackling the $14.5-billion deficit.
Implementing the many recommendations in the report would save taxpayers billions of dollars and these changes range from improving the way government pays for medical assistance devices and hires government contractors, to changes to multi-billion dollar programs like the Ontario Student Assistance Program and the Ontario Works welfare program.
OSAP - Taxes - Tuition - Program - Cent
The new OSAP with its so-called free (read: funded by your increased taxes) tuition program is costing 50 per cent more than the Wynne government projected and will soon cost $2 billion per year. It is not shocking that giving away money has ended up being expensive. But perhaps more surprising is that there is little evidence that all this money is actually achieving the goal of helping low-income families.
The auditor general found that many of the students getting money under the new so-called free tuition program were already attending college or university which means they’re already finding ways to cover the costs. In other words, they didn’t need the so-called free money. The program also does not appear to getting more students into classrooms with university enrolment increasing only by 1 per cent.
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