(TORONTO, ON) – The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on the provincial government to take immediate action based on the findings of the 2017 Annual Report by Bonnie Lysyk, the Auditor General of Ontario.
The report revealed that Ontario electricity ratepayers paid $260 million for power generators’ ineligible expenses, for things like scuba gear, staff car washes, landscaping, and racoon traps. The Auditor General also found that the Independent Electricity System Operator hasn’t implemented repeated recommendations from the Ontario Energy Board, which could save ratepayers $30 million a year.
“The Auditor General has found obvious and egregious waste in the electricity sector in Ontario, and it’s time for the government to act on it. If it’s possible to save ratepayers money today, it’s shameful that the government hasn’t done anything about it yet,” said Christine Van Geyn, the Ontario Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. “What we need from the government is real cost savings on electricity, not election gimmicks that kick the debt can down the road.”
Lysyk also found that there are 812 provincially owned buildings sitting vacant and costing taxpayers $19 million each year to maintain.
“The government needs to take immediate action to sell that property where appropriate, so that it’s generating money for the public coffers instead of acting as a perpetual taxpayer money pit,” continued Van Geyn.
Other issues highlighted by the report included a dramatic increase in sick days being taken by Ontario teachers, with the amount of absenteeism jumping 29 per cent since 2011-12, and teachers in the pubic board taking an average of 11.6 sick days per year.
Lysyk also noted that the government had spent $54 million on taxpayer-funded advertising in the last year, the most since 2006-07. The AG considers 30 per cent of the advertising as “partisan.”
“When politicians tell you they’re running a tight fiscal ship, you really need to question them,” said Van Geyn. “Every year, the Auditor General finds more waste, some of it obvious and all of it troubling. If the government is serious about improving this province’s finances, they won’t question the independent Auditor General’s findings the way they usually do. Instead, they’ll take action to save taxpayers money. The ball is in their court.”