Auditor general report says Ontario gave $210M in COVID support to ineligible businesses

Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk delivers her 2014 report during a press conference in Toronto on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.

Ontario's auditor general has found that thousands of businesses received a total of more than $200 million in provincial COVID-19 supports that they weren't eligible for.
    
It's one of the findings in auditor general Bonnie Lysyk's annual report, which looked at pandemic support for businesses among a wide range of other topics.
    
Her audit found lack of good consultation, improper tracking of funds, and poorly designed eligibility criteria allowed ineligible businesses to receive the money.
    
The report says the Ontario Small Business Support Grant lacked controls to weed out ineligible applicants and $210 million went to14,500 ineligible recipients, which the province isn't trying to recover.
    
The audit also found that the program criteria excluded some hard-hit businesses and that some recipients received more money than they lost in revenue, to a total difference of $714 million.
    
Another audit found the province didn't have enough personal protective equipment at the start of the pandemic, but could have been prepared if it followed recommendations that came in 2006 after the SARS outbreak.
    
There was also no legislated monitoring of PPE stockpiles for individual health-care providers and the ministry wasn't transparent about how it distributed the limited supply of equipment.
    
Wait times for outpatient surgeries that worsened during the pandemic were also highlighted and another audit noted inefficient monitoring of assisted living services, which the province spent $389 million on last year.