After a series of leaks last week, which gave everyone a bit of a chance to brace for what was coming, Toronto auditor-general Jeff Griffiths’s damning reports on the Toronto Community Housing Corporation were released this afternoon.
Titled “Toronto Community Housing Corporation: Controls Over Employee Expenses Are Ineffective” [PDF] and “Toronto Community Housing Corporation: Procurement Policies and Procedures Are Not Being Followed” [PDF], the reports detail troubling findings that fall into two categories: improper expenses (such as $1925 for a planning meeting held at a spa, or $53,500 for a 2008 Christmas) and dubious procurement practices (including the issuing of sole-sourced contracts). Significantly, the reports draw some overall conclusions about the TCHC, criticizing not just specific infractions but its decision-making practices and failure to adhere to existing rules and regulations in general.
In a press conference a short while ago, Nakamura and TCHC Chair David Mitchell responded to the auditor’s report; Nakamura described herself as “appalled and outraged.” Mitchell likewise said that he was “angry and indignant” but also that “it would be a tragedy…if these findings were to be used to attack the importance of community housing or the value of Toronto Community Housing’s mission.” They added that some individuals had been fired as a result of the auditor’s findings.
It will inevitably take a little while for the dust to settle. With at least one councillor already calling for the TCHC to be brought directly under the City’s oversight, and given the Ford administration’s stated skepticism about the entire notion of public housing, it’s a safe bet that there will be much talk of significant structural changes at the TCHC in the days and weeks ahead.