Auditor general finds problems with how Yukon gov't gives out money

Auditor general finds problems with how Yukon gov't gives out money

The auditor general of Canada is chiding the Yukon government for not adequately managing the way it gives public money to Yukon societies.

In a report released on Monday, the auditor general found "inconsistencies in the policies and practices related to government transfers" in Yukon.

"We found that the policies contained contradictions and undefined concepts, and that departments did not always document the risks associated with government transfers or verify that societies that received transfers complied with their legal reporting requirements," the report says.

The audit focussed on transfers made by three government departments in the 2014/15 fiscal year: Community Services; Energy, Mines and Resources; and Economic Development. It looked at transfers made to 24 societies, some of them through the Community Development Fund or the Yukon Recreation Advisory Committee.

It did not examine government transfers to First Nations, municipalities, government organizations, organizations not subject to the Societies Act, or individuals.

According to the report, 38 of the 53 government transfers examined had no documentation to show that the recipients' compliance with legal reporting requirements had been verified.

No policy for 'other expenses' 

The report also noted that the Yukon Party government gave $750,000 to the Mountain View Golf Club in 2011 in the form of a government transfer, but the payment was later reclassified as an "other expense."

Casey Thomas, a principal auditor with the auditor general's office, said that made it impossible to review because "there was no government framework.

"As auditors, we go in, we look at the rules that are in place, and whether or not those rules are being followed," she said.

"There is no associated policy with that type of expense, so there were no requirements for us to audit against."

Aisha Montgomery, a spokesperson for the department of community services, says the money for the golf club was actually a contract that had been mistakenly identified as a transfer. When the mistake was caught, she says it was categorized as a contract under "other expenses".

The report makes a number of recommendations, including more consistent risk-based reviews of proposed government transfers, and better documentation.

It also says the government should create a policy to evaluate and support a "results-based" approach to manage and review transfers and ensure their effectiveness.