Trudeau Government Lags in Oversight of Indigenous Business Support Program

Minister Patty Hajdu MP
Minister Patty Hajdu MP

THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Despite increasing pressure for enhanced oversight, the Trudeau government has shown significant delays in conducting thorough investigations into companies benefiting from a program aimed at supporting Indigenous businesses.

Since the inception of the Indigenous procurement program in 2016, only four comprehensive audits have been performed on recipient companies, all of which were carried out in the past two years amidst heightened public scrutiny over government expenditures.

The escalation of spending linked to these contracts has raised alarms.

During the fiscal year 2022-23, contracts worth $862 million were awarded under this program, significantly up from just $170 million five years prior. Although the government reports spending a total of $1.6 billion on Indigenous businesses through various initiatives

in the same year, the scant number of audits conducted casts doubts on the effective oversight of these funds.

This issue is particularly pressing for the Northwestern Ontario region, which is home to substantial Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs. Local taxpayers stand to benefit from assurances that funds designated to support Indigenous businesses are being managed prudently.

With these latest findings, calls for increased transparency and demands for more frequent audits are expected to intensify.

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