How Did the Government Lose $200 Million?

  • Legislative Review
The Auditor General reported the Government has written off over $200 million in bad small business grants during COVID-19. Stephen asks how the government lost $200 million that could have helped during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week Ontario’s Auditor General released her annual report. Amongst her many observations, the AG found serious issues and misappropriation of funds as part of the Government’s Small Business Grant program for COVID-19.

From the Auditor General:

“We found that the province did not use effective and efficient systems and procedures to make informed and co-ordinated decisions. Ontario did not have an overall strategy in its economic response to the pandemic.”

“Our audit found that Finance Ministry staff had only two days to prepare the initial business case that contained details about program eligibility for the Small Business Grant. Specifically, Ministry staff received direction from the Finance Minister on December 17, 2020 to develop a program to provide support for small businesses. The initial draft of the business case was submitted for the Minister’s review on December 19, and the final version submitted to TB/MBC for approval on December 21. On that same day, the Premier announced the Small Business Grant.””In August 2021, the province wrote off over $210 million paid to 14,500 ineligible recipients in the Ontario Small Business Support Grant program.”

“Financial support received through the Ontario Small Business Support Grant was not proportional to the businesses’ revenue losses. Some businesses received more than they lost.”

To read the Auditor General’s annual report click here.