Safety fears prompted audit of Nunavut schools, daycares

The Assistant Auditor General of Canada said his office launched an audit of school and daycare safety in Nunavut because ‘there was a risk of significant non-compliance on the safety issues.’

'Why did it take the Auditor General's report to bring these items to light?' asks MLA Allan Rumbolt

Nunavut’s MLAs had questions for the Assistant Auditor General of Canada yesterday, who was in the legislature to answer questions about a report on safety in Nunavut’s schools and daycares.

The report raised questions about inspection requirements for child care facilities, saying those were met only one-third of the time. One quarter of child care inspections took place four months late, and one facility wasn’t inspected for more than two years.

Ronnie Campbell, the assistant auditor general, said his office was originally only going to produce a report on education in Nunavut, but plans changed when concerns began to arise about safety.

"There was a risk of significant non-compliance on the safety issues related to schools we also then asked the question of the daycares facilities," Campbell said. "And when we started to see inspections weren't being done and there was no evidence of follow up we took the decision to embark on a second audit."

Members of the Nunavut legislature went over the report Thursday and questioned government officials.

Allan Rumbolt, the MLA for Hudson Bay, was concerned the issue wasn't raised before the report.

"Why did it take the Auditor General's report to bring these items to light?"

Roy Green, the deputy minister of community and government services, said his department knew it was behind in inspections, but "there was a lack of policies and procedures in place."  

Campbell said there weren't enough people to do the inspections.

"That being said, this is safety. This is very, very serious. It's about the children. So I don't want to portray any of those factors as an excuse. I mean clearly we think those deficiencies should be fixed. They should have been fixed by now," Campbell said.

The education department says all outstanding inspections of child care facilities and schools have been completed.