N.L. failing, slow to act on some AG recommendations

The auditor general says the provincial government is falling short on implementing some of the recommendations in recent reports.
Terry Paddon, Newfoundland and Labrador's auditor general, has released an update on the government's compliance with recommendations made between 2008 and 2011. (CBC)

The auditor general says the provincial government is falling short on implementing some of the recommendations in recent reports.

AG Terry Paddon provided an update Friday on the government's compliance with 622 recommendations in reports tabled between 2008 and 2011.

The auditor general said at least 80 per cent of recommendations should be implemented within two years of a report's release, and 90 per cent should be addressed within four years.

But Paddon said only 71 per cent of issues identified in 2010 and 2011 have been dealt with or "otherwise resolved." The number was 79 per cent for 2008.

"Therefore, the goal has not been met for these years," Paddon stated Friday.

For example, it's been at least three years since the AG recommended that the government establish a process to monitor results of annual inspections, and fix problems related to air quality in schools. It was also recommended that the province detail procedures to ensure enhanced inspections are performed on all schools in the province.

To date, neither has been done.

Big fines not addressed

A couple of recommendations to deal with people who owe big fines have yet to be acted upon, including an option to increase late penalty payments or attach fine balances to other areas of government to help identify and catch the worst offenders.

A recommendation to develop a formal plan for the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway — detailing goals, objectives and milestones; timelines for completion of projects; desired highway standards; an estimate of the construction costs for completion; and sources of funding for the identified costs — has also yet to be implemented.

Meanwhile, the fisheries department has yet to update a policy that would help inspectors determine whether problems or hazards exist at aquaculture sites. Nor has the government acted on a recommendation to develop a code of practice for shellfish aquaculture.

Paddon also rapped the government for failing to carry out inspections to identify people who continue to illegally occupy shoreline Crown land.

But the AG's update wasn't all bad.

Paddon did credit the province with implementing 87 per cent of recommendations made in the 2009 report.