The House

AG raises red flags over taxes and infections, talks Senate audit

Canada's Auditor General has raised red flags about the quality of health care in remote First Nations communities, the lack of oversight when it comes to the government's boutique tax credits, and the growing problems related to antimicrobial resistance. Michael Ferguson joins us to discuss his Spring Report.
Auditor General Michael Ferguson speaks at a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 following the tabling of his spring report to Parliament. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Auditor general Michael Ferguson was at it again this week, putting the spotlight on government activities that aren't living up to their potential in delivering results for Canadians. Findings from his spring report include:

  • Despite accounting for tens of billions of dollars in annual government expense, the federal government's tax-based expenditures — boutique tax credit measures such as the children's fitness tax credit, for example — are not properly evaluated or subject to adequate parliamentary oversight.
  • People living in remote First Nations in Manitoba and Ontario aren't guaranteed to have access to clinical and client care services, with major health and safety problems at the nursing stations, and only one of the 45 nurses evaluated finishing the five mandatory training courses chosen for the audit.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada aren't doing enough to tackle problems posed by antimicrobial resistance.
  • Department of National Defence "failed to fully investigate" two complaints of values and ethics violations in the ombudsman's office, which also had "inadequate controls for financial, contract, and human resource management."
  • Correctional Service of Canada officials recommended fewer people for early release in 2013-14 than in 2011-12, even if the offender was assessed as a low risk to re-offend, leading to an additional $91-million annual cost.
  • Canada Border Services Agency has had "significant challenges" managing IT projects.

We speak to Auditor General Michael Ferguson about his report.