MEDIA RELEASE: Union Reiterates Call for Full Forensic Audit

The union representing 30 workers who lost their jobs as a result of government’s decision to terminate their contract with Island Employment agency is once again writing to the Auditor General to request a full forensic audit of the agency’s operations.
During today’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts meeting, it was revealed that the Ombudsman had suggested the Provincial government undertake a full forensic audit of Island Employment, but that recommendation was ignored by government officials. Instead, they opted to end the contract with the agency: this was not even one of the Ombudsman’s recommendations. Moreover, the Deputy Minister was unable to say how much money had been misappropriated from the agency, or who was responsible for this misuse of funds.
“Anyone who listened to the information presented at today’s meeting was left with more questions than answers,” said NSGEU President Jason MacLean, “Those questions must be answered by this government.”
Under the Auditor General Act Section 22 PAC, the Committee has the ability to formally request a full forensic audit be conducted by the Auditor General. In fact, a motion was made by the NDP members of the committee, which was supported by the Liberal members, but ultimately the PC members of the committee used their majority to defeat the motion.
“We are very disappointed that this government refuses to do the right thing and be transparent with Nova Scotians, and to clear these workers’ names,” added MacLean. “Staff did the right thing by coming forward and alerting authorities about the potential misuse of public funds. They did the right thing, and their reward was a pink slip and a chance to compete for the job they already have, but at a lower rate of pay.”
Auditor General Kim Adair was in attendance today, and when asked if she could conduct a full forensic investigation of the agency, she conceded she had found the discussion “very enlightening and informative,” with “a lot of the details I was not aware of.”
Based on those comments and the information that was shared in Public Accounts today, the NSGEU is again writing directly to the Auditor General, requesting a full forensic audit on behalf of the 30 members who lost their jobs with Island Employment.

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