TORONTO-Highlights from Ontario’s annual auditor general report:
-The government pays highway contractors about $8 million per year in bonuses for meeting a quality standard for asphalt, even in cases when it knows contractors tampered with asphalt samples just to get the bonuses.
– Road contractors continue to get work from the government even when they have performed unsatisfactory work or breached safety regulations.
-The government paid $23 million for repairs on five highway projects, in addition to an initial $143 million to pave them ,after only one to three years, when the highways should have lasted 15 years.
-Construction projects by Metrolinx, a Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area transit agency, are responsible for one in every seven dollars of Ontario’s capital spending. The auditor says it fails to hold contractors and design consultants accountable for inadequate or late work, and foots the bill for millions in additional costs.
-Ontario’s cap-and-trade program will cost Ontario businesses and households about $8 billion between 2017 and 2020 and will likely generate less than 20 per cent of the government’s target of emissions reductions.
– About 80 per cent of companies that have received emissions approvals in the last 15 years have never been inspected, and the government doesn’t know how many emitters given approvals more than 15 years ago are still operating.
-Ontario is the only province that doesn’t require environmental assessments for private-sector mining and chemical manufacturing projects. It will cost $1 billion to clean up just four such sites, the auditor found.
-Ontario’s health-care sector spent $8 billion over the last 14 years to implement electronic health records, but the initiative still isn’t complete, and it’s impossible to say if the project is on budget because there wasn’t an overall one.
-The number of children and youth hospitalized with mental-health problems has risen 50 per cent in the last seven years, but the government hasn’t analyzed why or how to address it.
– The Ministry of Health didn’t investigate billings for nine specialists who claimed to work more than 360 days in 2015-16, including six who billed for the full 366 days.
– A shortage in psychiatric care in Ontario led to the government spending nearly $10 million to send 127 youth to the United States for treatment.
– At three hospitals the auditor’s office visited as a sample, patients requiring intensive care were transferred to the ICU within
23 hours, well above the government’s target of eight hours. And 47 per cent of patients at those hospitals who should have received emergency surgery within two to eight hours had to wait 18 hours, on average.
– Many hospitals close operating rooms to all procedures except for emergency surgeries on evenings, weekends, statutory holidays, March break and for between two and 10 weeks during the summer.
– In 2014-15, Ontario hospital patients had the second-highest rate of sepsis in Canada, after the Yukon. The auditor says high bed occupancy rates contribute to the likelihood of hospital infections.