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FORUM: Report confirms Ford government failures (Feb. 2024)

April 5th, 2024 · No Comments

Independent auditor general annual report paints troubling picture

By Jessica Bell

The auditor general’s office authors an annual report that does a deep dive into a select list of government agencies, departments and government-funded or -regulated institutions to see if they are working as they should. Here’s the lowdown on the office’s latest report. 

Hospitals struggle with doctor and nurse shortages, resulting in emergency room closures.

There were over 200 unplanned emergency department closures involving 23 hospitals, mostly in rural areas, in the past year. The closures were mostly due to nursing and doctor shortages. Emergency department wait times remain long, with patients waiting an average of two hours to be assessed by a doctor, up 30 minutes in the last 10 years. How can this be happening in Canada? We treasure our public health care system. 

The government is not consultin with the public on environmental decisions.

The Conservatives made drastic changes to energy, land-use planning, and housing without meaningful public consultation. 

Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights says that Ontarians have the right to be informed and to participate in decisions that affect our land, water, air, and wildlife, from expanding gas plants to permitting sprawl on thousands of acres of farmland. This isn’t happening in Ontario. 

The relocation of the Ontario Science Centre is based on flawed evidence.

The decision to relocate the Ontario Science Centre was based on preliminary and incomplete costing information that excluded key costs and proceeded without full consultation from key stakeholders or a clear plan for the existing site.?

The Conservatives crowed that moving the Ontario Science Centre would save money; however, the auditor general’s report suggests that 90 per cent of the claimed savings come from the lower costs of operating a much smaller science centre with less exhibition space. 

The process was rigged to reach a predetermined conclusion. The question is why? 

The Conservatives are not doing enough to address homelessness.

As downtown residents we see the homelessness crisis firsthand when we walk down the street, take the TTC, or visit an emergency room. We know our city and province are not doing enough to house people.

In 2021, the auditor general released a damning report on the government’s approach to addressing homelessness, concluding the government has no plan to reduce or end homelessness. 

It’s two years later, and the government has failed to implement even half of the auditor general’s modest recommendations to address one of Ontario’s biggest moral and social failings. 

The report also found that the province’s lack of support for people transitioning out of jails, hospitals, and the child welfare system is a contributing factor to the number of people who are homeless, along with low social assistance rates and the high and escalating cost of rent. 

The Conservatives are embracing unsustainable land-use planning.

The auditor general found that the region is building too much sprawl and not doing enough to increase density, improve transit, and protect our farmland and greenspaces. 

The AG’s follow-up report concluded the Ford government had neglected most of the auditor general’s recommendations on how it could track its progress on land-use planning, implementing just one of 12 recommendations. No surprises here. 

Condo residents need better consumer protections.

Thousands of Torontonians live in condos, sharing everything from elevators, air, and party rooms. Some of these buildings are so big they have multimillion-dollar budgets and house as many people as small towns. Just like there’s rules for towns, there needs to be sensible, fair, and enforceable rules to ensure we get condo living right. 

I have been working with other MPPs to improve condo standards because we get many complaints from condo residents. Some of the most common complaints are about illegal Airbnbs, massive hikes in condo fees, condo boards that refuse to hold fair elections, property managers that don’t do their job, and new buildings rife with flaws and defects, from poor ventilation to flooding. Many are incredibly angry to learn that there’s little they can do to fix their problems.

The auditor general’s latest progress report shows that while some progress has been made to improve protections, Ontario still has a long way to go to ensure condo residents can seek redress if they have a concern with their condo board, property manager, building developer, or neighbour.

In the coming months, other MPPs and I will collaborate with the auditor general’s office to improve the performance of these sectors. I look forward to hearing your comments or feedback on these matters. 

Jessica Bell is the MPP for University-Rosedale and the Official Opposition’s Housing Critic. She can be reached at or 416-535-7206. 


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