Natyshak: Job Fund transparency is a must

Following a scathing report by Ontario’s Auditor-General, NDP Economic Development Critic Taras Natyshak (MPP, Essex), is demanding more accountability in how the government spends job creation dollars. Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians continue to struggle to find stable, good-paying jobs, while this government hands out money for jobs that disappear in a few short years or never get created in the first place.

“The Liberal government has a big problem when it comes to making sure jobs funds create jobs. The Auditor-General said they were failing to be transparent or accountable,” said Natyshak. “In 2012, MPPs passed legislation to ensure that two of Ontario’s regional jobs funds had independent boards and annual reporting. It’s time for the government to appoint those independent boards. Ontarians deserve more accountability, not less.”

Last Wednesday, the Auditor-General criticized the Liberals for handing out billions of dollars on an invitation-only basis. The government failed to assess whether funding was needed and failed to measure whether funding had any impact on strengthening the economy. 

“More than 500,000 Ontarians were looking for work in October. They deserve to know that job creation funds are working for them, not just Liberal friends,” continued Natyshak. “The Auditor-General’s report shows major shortcomings in how the Liberals are managing jobs funds. Independent boards and annual reporting would be a major step toward greater transparency.”

In 2012, the Attracting Investment and Creating Jobs Act was passed with NDP amendments calling for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) to have independent boards of directors, local advisory committees, and annual reporting. However, the government has refused to make these amendments law.