Auditor General Michael Pickup fields questions at a news conference. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

B.C. auditor general postpones 10 performance audits, cites pandemic

‘Proceeding as planned could have diverted critical resources and focus away from clinical care and the COVID-19 response’

British Columbia’s auditor general says COVID-19 is largely behind the postponement of 10 performance audits and potential delays to future reviews of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Michael Pickup said Tuesday evolving circumstances mostly connected to the pandemic’s impact on government operations have made it necessary to change the status of the audits.

He said those include the impact the pandemic is having on the workforce assigned to projects or programs being reviewed, as well as on ministry staff.

“Certainly, circumstances like the government’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted our audit work,” Pickup said at a news conference after the release of a status report by his office.

“It is to be expected that this requires an all-hands-on-deck response by ministries and staff in health care.”

Pickup said an audit of B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam project was postponed to allow the government to conduct its own review in order to ensure the review considers the most up-to-date information.

The government recently announced a revised cost estimate of $16 billion to complete the Site C hydroelectric dam and a one-year completion delay to 2025.

An audit of government substance use services was delayed after requests by the Ministry of Health and Vancouver Coastal Health to focus on the pandemic, Pickup said.

“Proceeding as planned could have diverted critical resources and focus away from clinical care and the COVID-19 response,” he said.

Pickup said his office has planned various reports on the government’s pandemic response, including the $1.5-billion economic recovery fund and the vaccine rollout program, but much depends on the availability of the government and its resources.

“Yes, at the request of government, given how busy folks are in response to the pandemic, we’ve been recognizing … that we can’t be getting in the way while the government works in response,” he said. “Yes, there are things we have identified and more planning is to be done and more discussions are to be had.”

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

Town has passed the 2021 budget, with a five per cent spending increase. (Claire Palmer photo)
Town council approves 2021 budget and tax rate bylaw

The budget will increase by five per cent this year

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

New homes are built in a housing construction development in the west-end of Ottawa on Thursday, May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Budget’s foreign-homebuyers tax could bring in $509 million over 4 years, PBO says

Liberals are proposing a one per cent tax on vacant homes owned by foreign non-residents

A Canadian flag patch is shown on a soldier’s shoulder in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. The Canadian Forces says it has charged one of its members in the death of an army reservist from British Columbia during a training exercise at a military base in Alberta last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg
Canadian Forces member charged in death of army reservist during training exercise

Cpl. Lars Callsen has been charged with one count of negligence

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks during a press conference in the rotunda at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Wednesday May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. to use remaining AstraZeneca vaccine for 2nd doses

Health officials say the change is due to the limited availability of the vaccine

A youth plays basketball in an otherwise quiet court in Toronto on Saturday April 17, 2021. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is urging the federal and provincial governments to fight COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on proven public health policy interventions including paid sick leave, and education rather than punitive enforcement measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Provinces issued more COVID-19 tickets during 2nd wave: CCLA report

‘A pandemic is a public health, not a public order, crisis,’ reads the report

Capt. Arpit Mahajan of the Canadian Forces Snowbirds - Snowbirds 2 - shows off his ‘Jenn Book’ dedicated to Capt. Jennifer Casey. Zoom screenshot
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

(Glenmore Neighbours/Facebook)
VIDEO: Parade of ducklings stalls Glenmore traffic

Duck and ducklings trek across Glenmore, guided to pond by residents

Vernon’s Tanya Wick, human resources VP at Tolko Industries Ltd., has been named the 2021 HR Professional of the Year by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon. (CPHR BC & Yukon photo)
Okanagan resident gets top provincial award for HR excellence

Tolko’s Tanya Wick has earned the title of 2021 HR Professional of the Year

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Most Read