Niagara MPP Urges St. Catharines Council to Support Motion for Ontario Auditor General to conduct Third-Party Audit on NPCA

An Open Letter to St. Catharines Council from Welland Riding MPP Cindy Forster

Posted March 20th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Mayor Walter Sendzik and Members of City Council, City of St. Catharines, 50 Church Street. St. Catharines, ON L2R 7C2

Dear Mayor Sendzik and Councillors:

MPP for the Niagara, Ontario riding of Welland, Cindy Forster continues to push for more public accountability from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Re: Motion 9.2  Provincial Auditor General’s Offer to NPCA – Third Party Audit

I’m writing in full support of motion 9.2 on today’s Council agenda, put forward by Councilllor Carolos Garcia, requesting that the NPCA Board reconsider the Ontario Auditor General’s proposal to conduct a financial audit of the NPCA. To help restore our community’s confidence of the NPCA board, I’m urging you to vote in favour of the motion as well.

Despite the NPCA’s motion agreeing to a fiscal financial audit in January, I was surprised to see the spirit of that motion completely transformed during last week’s board meeting. After reviewing the NPCA’s Request for Proposal (RFP) details, it became very clear that the NPCA’s tender lacks the transparency and accountability that our communities and municipalities have spent months calling for.

Worse, I was shocked that any reference to a forensic financial audit was removed.

More alarming is the recent news that the Ontario Auditor General, the independent office of the Legislative Assembly that conducts financial audits of the provincial government’s ministries and agencies and who ensures that taxpayers receive value for their tax dollars, offered their services to the NPCA – which, to my astonishment, were declined. To be clear, this offer would have relieved property tax payers of shouldering the financial burden of the audit. Instead of accountability to the very taxpayers its accountable to, I’m concerned that the NPCA intends on tendering out an audit that seems to report back to the very people it’s supposed to be auditing.

As such, on behalf of our communities and on the countless municipalities that have come forward with the same concerns, and in the interest of full accountability and transparency of our public agencies, I’m urging St. Catharines City Council to support this motion, rescind the RFP submitted by the NPCA, and allow the Ontario Auditor General to undertake a forensic financial audit of the NPCA.

Regards,, Cindy ForsterMPP, Welland

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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