Bad data makes it impossible to assess jobs impact of infrastructure spending: AG

Auditor-General calls for overhaul of Liberals' floundering infrastructure program. AG says government cannot provide meaningful data to assess the economic or environmental impact of investments, the cornerstone of the 2015 Liberal campaign.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Auditor general Karen Hogan says the government can’t show that its vaunted, $188-billion infrastructure plan is meeting its lofty goals.

The 12-year plan was a cornerstone of the Liberals’ successful 2015 election campaign, betting that spending big on infrastructure would speed up economic growth, create jobs and improve Canadians’ lives through new transit, green and social projects.

As the audit today shows, the promise has been beset by spending setbacks, with billions left unspent or delayed until later this decade.

But five years into the program, Hogan says the lead department hasn’t provided what she calls “meaningful public reporting” on the plan’s overall progress.

Her audit team flags issues in how information is shared among the 21 federal bodies involved in delivering the money, and how Infrastructure Canada didn’t account for programs created by previous governments, even though they account for roughly half of planned spending.

Hogan warns that without changes, it’s possible the decade of spending won’t ever meet the Liberals’ expectations for it.

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