CTV investigation: Questionable spending by Auditor General's office
Published Monday, May 25, 2015 10:01PM EDT
A CTV investigation has revealed the Auditor General's office spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on questionable employee events that appear to violate federal rules.
Over four years, the federal watchdog doled out more than $23,048 on team-building trips in the Ottawa area.
This includes three visits to Funhaven, an entertainment centre, and other team-building events at Saunders Farm, Britannia Yacht Club, Rideau Curling Centre and Lafleche Adventure Park.
These events appear to violate federal rules that say hospitality is only provided when business meetings, training or events "extend beyond normal working hours."
Michael Ferguson, who was appointed auditor general in 2011, defended his office's actions.
"Half of the day is all about business and the other half is ways for them to connect with their team," Ferguson told CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.
"We are very careful to make sure we select locations that offer us good prices," he added.
Over the last four years, the oversight agency has spent more than $107,110 on "annual update" luncheons outside the workplace for their 600 staffers
“It’s another way for employees to feel connected to the whole office and not just the group,” Ferguson said.
Taxpayers also fronted the bill for two retirement festivities for former auditor general Sheila Fraser, totalling $19,226.
And another $12,401 was spent on employee-appreciation lunches.
"Which is essentially a pizza lunch, so everyone gets a few slices of pizza to recognize they are contributing," said Ferguson.
On Parliament Hill, the expenses raised a few eyebrows among MPs.
"If that's what they're doing, that's bad news," said Conservative MP David Tilson.
All of the expenses are on the Auditor General’s website, although they’re not tallied up for easy reference.