For Immediate Release – May 27, 2020
OTTAWA – With billions being spent to help Canadians through the pandemic, several national organizations released a joint statement today urging the federal government to introduce increased transparency measures to combat corruption and protect public funds.
“Emergencies are fertile ground for corruption, fraud and misuse of public funding. While the government must remain focused on providing aid to areas in need, Canada can’t afford to cast aside accountability measures to ensure those funds aren’t abused,” said Toby Sanger, director of Canadians for Tax Fairness, one of the signatories.
The statement makes a number of recommendations to government such as:
- Publish details on what specific businesses and organizations receive in different forms of federal support and for what purposes during both the emergency and recovery phases with a spending tracker and whistleblower tip lines to report abuse or mismanagement
- Require all large multinational enterprises that receive funding to make public their finances and taxes paid on a country-by-country basis
- Strengthen whistle-blowing protections for workers in the public, para-public and private sectors
- Increase resources for monitoring, auditing, evaluation, enforcement and prosecution including additional funding for oversight agencies like the Auditor General, Parliamentary Budget Officer, Treasury Board and for auditors and financial controllers in the affected departments
“While there has been a great deal of focus lately on the possibility of fraud by individuals, there has not been nearly enough attention given to the far larger risk of fraud and misuse of government funds through business programs and procurement,” Sanger cautioned.
A recent Leger poll found half of Canadians believe government is withholding COVID-19 information. Stronger accountability conditions would help strengthen the public’s trust in government and protect public money as well.
Communications Coordinator, Canadians for Tax Fairness
Canadians for Tax Fairness is a non-profit organization that advocates for progressive taxes to fund important public services, reduce inequality and strengthen the economy.