Ontario government cracks down on excess spending

Workers at 22 provincial agencies must post expenses online

With the recent outcry around inappropriate spending practices at eHealth Ontario and Ontario Lottery and Gaming, the Ontario public service will face greater scrutiny of their expenses thanks to new accountability measures.

“Recently, inappropriate spending practices were uncovered at two of Ontario's agencies. And while the vast majority of public servants follow the rules scrupulously, and work hard to protect tax dollars, some do not,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty in a letter to government workers. “It's more important than ever to ensure we all take responsibility for tax dollars. Every tax dollar counts — particularly at a time when some have lost their jobs and government is hard at work helping to put people to work.”

As part of the initiative, the provincial government has simplified the rules on expenses. The new summary of guidelines for travel, meals and hospitality expenses has been abbreviated from 25 pages to two. In addition, all public service employees and employees at Ontario’s largest agencies will receive online, mandatory training on expense claims.

The provincial government will also increase the number of random audits of expenses to ensure rules are being followed. And by April 2010, expenses for senior management, cabinet ministers, political staff and senior executives at Ontario’s 22 largest agencies will be posted online. These agencies will include Ontario Lottery and Gaming, Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, LCBO, eHealth, Ontario Public Service Pension Board, Metrolinx and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

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