Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

Statements are Missing from Liberal Government’s Unaudited Public Accounts

Published on October 5, 2016

Ms. Catherine Fife: My question is to the Premier. For the first time in history, a provincial government is trying to go around the Auditor General by releasing an unaudited version of the public accounts. And if that wasn’t unusual enough, there are whole sections missing. There are no statements from the Ontario Electricity Financial Corp., and so we have no idea what happened to the Hydro One proceeds that were supposed to pay down the hydro debt, or what happened to the $2.6-billion departure tax that the government paid to the OEFC on Hydro One’s behalf.

The OEFC exists entirely within the treasury. They work just down the hall from the same people who prepared these unaudited public accounts. So I ask, where are the OEFC financial statements?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: President of the Treasury Board.

Hon. Liz Sandals: What I would like to assure the member is that when we tabled the public accounts—as I explained yesterday, once we have the advice of the auditor in terms of her audit opinion and have gone through the various legal approval steps that have to follow along with that, we will be formally tabling the public accounts.

I wish to assure the members that if there has been one or two of the agencies that have inadvertently been omitted, they will certainly be in the public accounts.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Ms. Catherine Fife: That does not instill a lot of confidence in the public accounts, and it’s not acceptable to the people of this province.

The OEFC statements weren’t the only thing missing. They were not the only report that was missing: so were the statements from the former Hydro One Brampton, and so were the statements from the WSIB.

The CEO of the WSIB is Tom Teahen, the former chief of staff for the Premier. My question is to the Premier: Why couldn’t she persuade her former chief of staff to submit the WSIB’s financial statements on time?

Hon. Liz Sandals: All of the information is available, and it will be available when we table the public accounts. As we have explained before, the public accounts require the opinion of the auditor. When we have the opinion of the auditor, we will go forward with the formal process that completes the finalizing of the public accounts. That will involve going to cabinet, going to the Lieutenant Governor and, obviously, having the formal printing. When all that has been accomplished, we will table the public accounts.

At the moment, I’m awaiting the audit opinion from the auditor. But the public accounts will obviously include all of the required information.