NDP leaves spring sitting at legislature facing turmoil in public housing management

·1 min read

VICTORIA — The New Democrat government in British Columbia started the spring legislative session promising more affordable homes for vulnerable people, but it ends the sitting amid turmoil over its public housing agency.

An Ernst and Young audit found mismanagement and risk to public dollars at the Crown corporation BC Housing, and has the government facing sharp criticism as it leaves the legislature pledging tighter controls.

The audit concluded there was mismanagement related to a conflict of interest between Shayne Ramsay, the former chief executive officer at BC Housing, and his spouse, Janice Abbott, who is CEO at Atira Women's Resource Society, the corporation's largest housing operator.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says the government will continue to provide housing to people who need it most, but for now has halted new funding to Atira and will launch another audit.

Opposition BC United Leader Kevin Falcon says the report uncovers a scandal that points toward Premier David Eby, a former housing minister.

Kahlon says the government passed 25 pieces of legislation this spring, including new laws that allow police to seize proceeds of crime, help close the gender pay gap and make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at statutory holiday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press