Lack of COMSOC oversight means more wasted tax dollars… …and less for program spending – MPP Barrett

December 6, 2011
QUEEN’S PARK — Ministry of Community and Social Services Critic Toby Barrett is concerned with the Auditor General’s finding that the Ministry continues to allow supportive services agencies to operate without adequate oversight.

“Many of the concerns…of this program 15 years ago have still not been satisfactorily addressed,” Barrett quoted from the Auditor General report during debate in the Legislature. “This has obviously been going on for 15 years, in particular over the last eight years. And as the auditor reports, it will take several years before many of the issues we identify in this report can be effectively addressed. This report from the Auditor General is not good.”

In the 2011 Annual Report, the Auditor General points to a number of issues with the Minister of Community and Social Services:

• In half the cases reviewed in the audit, agencies didn’t have supporting documentation to adequately show a person’s eligibility or needs. As a result, the agencies couldn’t demonstrate, and the Ministry couldn’t assess, whether the person was receiving the appropriate level of service.

• The Ministry has not established acceptable standards of service, or the necessary processes to properly monitor the quality of services provided.

• Annual funding of agencies is based primarily on what they got in the past rather than what they currently need, something that worsens any funding inequities that may previously have existed. As well, some hourly service costs appeared excessive, and the cost per hour for similar services that agencies were paying varied widely across the province.

• The Ministry does not know how many people are on waiting lists for agency-based supportive services and so cannot reliably assess unmet service needs.

“Without proper oversight, there is a very real possibility that we are sending taxpayers’ money down the drain,” noted Barrett. “During the tough economic times we are enduring it is incumbent on government to ensure that we are getting value for the fewer dollars we have to distribute – more wasted tax dollars means less for the essential programming that Ontario residents have paid for, and less for the services our less fortunate depend upon.”

For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at: (416) 325-8404,
(519) 428-0446 or 1-800-903-8629