UPDATE: Auditor General raises concerns about CNA hiring, liquor corporation inspections

Published on January 23, 2013
Auditor General's Report released today.

Auditor General Terry Paddon raised concerns with the College of the North Atlantic, the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation, and a raft of government departments in his annual report, released this morning.

Paddon tackled a range of issues in his first year as auditor general.

When it comes to liquor, Paddon said that inspections of bars and other licenced establishment aren't happening adequately, and the corporation doesn't have a firm plan for how it goes about doing them.

At CNA, he said there were problems with hiring. He found several instances where qualified candidates were screened out, and the college hired current employees. In a range of cases, he also found that the school wasn't keeping adequate records when it comes to hiring.

The annual report also looks at the Department of Municipal Affairs, and issues with budgets not being filed to the provincial government.

The auditor general's office also found issues with the Western Health Authority, and improper human resources practices at the government's Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, and the government purchasing agency when it comes to exceptions to the Public Tendering Act.

In total, the report runs 780 pages long, and delves into detail in 13 different chapters on various departments and agencies.

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(Earlier story)

Auditor General Terry Paddon this morning presented his 2012 Report on Reviews of Departments and Crown Agencies, and his report on the Audit of the Consolidated Summary Financial Statements of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador for the Year Ended March 31, 2012, to the Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The report on reviews of departments and crown agencies contains commentary and recommendations related to 13 reviews of departments and Crown agencies. The report also contains responses from those who were reviewed.

The report covers the following areas:

Occupational Health and Safety in Government; College of the North Atlantic; Income Support and Accounts Receivables; Pesticides Control;      Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation – Regulatory Services; HealthLine; Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information; Western Regional Health Authority; Monitoring of Municipalities; Special Assistance Grant Program; Forest Industry Diversification Program; Government Purchasing Agency – Public Tender Act Exceptions; Insurance Adjusters, Agents and Brokers Regulation

The report is available on the Office of the Auditor General website at www.ag.gov.nl.ca/ag/reports.htm

The Audit of the Consolidated Summary Financial Statements report highlights a number of areas which will impact the finances of the province in the future:

• The Province recorded a surplus of $883 million for the year ended March 31, 2012, however, a deficit of $726 million is now forecast for 2012-13.

• The Province remains heavily reliant on the offshore oil sector for a substantial portion of provincial revenues.

• Commodity prices are set in global markets and are impacted by factors outside the Province’s ability to control. Volatility and uncertainty of commodity prices will continue to influence the provinces financial outlook.

• 2012-13 is the first year, since 1998-99, that the Province will not receive revenue from the equalization offset provisions of the 1985 Atlantic Accord. In 2011-12, the Province received $536 million under this arrangement.

• While Provincial Net Debt has declined to $7.8 billion at March 31, 2012, a forecast deficit in 2012-13 of $726 million will push Net Debt to an estimated $8.9 billion by March 31, 2013.

• Provincial obligations related to employee future benefits (Pensions and Group Health and Life Insurance) continue to increase.  The combined liability exceeds $5 billion at March 31, 2012.

• Expenses have grown by $3.1 billion from 2002-03 to 2011-12, a cumulative growth rate of 66 per cent over this period.

• Per capita expenses in Newfoundland and Labrador are the highest of any province in Canada and are 50 per cent higher than the average of all other provinces for the year ended March 31, 2012.

• Spending on Tangible Capital Assets (infrastructure) averaged approximately $750 million in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2011 and 2012 – approximately 3 times greater than the average annual spending on Tangible Capital Assets from 2003 to 2010.

• Changing demographics in Newfoundland and Labrador will have a significant impact on the nature of services required, how they are delivered and their associated cost.

• Government will have to continue to closely monitor the continued sustainability of program expenditures, the unfunded pension liability and the liability for group health and life insurance retirement benefits.

 

The Auditor General’s Report is available on the Office of the Auditor General website at www.ag.gov.nl.ca/ag/reports.htm

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(Earlier story)

Auditor General Terry Paddon will release his first report on the government's finances later this morning.

The auditor general's office said the report will likely be coming out sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Paddon took on the role as government finance watchdog this spring. He was previously deputy minister of the Department of Finance for eight years, so he knows his way around the government's financial books.

Typically, auditor general's reports examine public spending to look at whether departments are following protocols and getting good value for taxpayer dollars.

It was former auditor general John Noseworthy who originally exposed the House of Assembly constituency spending scandal.

In recent years, the office has taken the government to task for everything from financial sloppiness at the crown corporation that runs the Marble Mountain ski resort, to improper record keeping dealing with RNC firearms.

Once the report is released, The Telegram will be providing full coverage online and indepth coverage in Thursday's full edition.