‘Not 100% accurate’: Doug Ford responds to auditor’s report

Prime Minister Doug Ford responded to the province’s auditor general a day after she reported that her government provided nearly $ 1 billion in COVID relief to companies that did not rate, saying its findings “were not 100% accurate.”

Questioned in the legislature Thursday by NDP leader Andrea Horwath about a “billion-dollar tax waste,” Ford said the funds were provided quickly to struggling businesses after the pandemic.

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, in her annual report released Wednesday, said that in the early days of the pandemic the province distributed about $ 210 million to businesses that did not qualify and $ 714 million to companies when its losses only amounted to 225 million dollars. He also criticized the government for a “worrying” lack of controls.

“What the auditor general reported is not 100 percent accurate,” Ford said Thursday. “What is it, is it a month they took – it was a month, and you’re telling me that companies only lost money for a month? They lost it throughout the pandemic. “

However, he added, “again, with a snapshot in time of $ 225 million, are we going after the bad actors? We will go after bad actors, 100 percent we will go after them. “

Without the COVID money, he said, some 120,000 businesses could have gone under.

But Horwath noted that the report says the government “did not attempt to recover these amounts and subsequently wrote them off as bad debts in August” just a couple of months ago. “

Liberal MPP Amanda Simard said the auditor’s report found that some of the $ 1 billion in funding went to companies with suspicious applications and others that had no addresses in Ontario.

“This administration is basically a terrible version of Oprah, and with taxpayer money,” he said. “’You get the grant. You get the grant. ‘ Outside of Ontario, you also get a grant. Not eligible? Whatever it is, you get a grant anyway. Everyone receives a grant. Oh, but you in the back in the sectors we pointed out at the beginning, obviously you don’t get a grant. Too. We can decide which ineligible company receives the grant. ”

“This is unacceptable,” he said.

Robert Benzie is the bureau chief for Star’s Queen’s Park and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie


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