TORONTO, Feb. 28 /CNW/ - Toronto Community Housing is putting in place
stricter financial controls and more rigorous oversight of procurement
and employee expenses to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and
Chief Executive Officer Keiko Nakamura confirmed that the company has
already begun making improvements to its practices for employee
expenses and procurement cited by the Auditor General, and will
implement the report's recommendations. Actions currently under way or
planned for 2011 include:
The company's internal audit team is examining each expense deemed
inappropriate by the Auditor General so that the CEO can determine the
need for further corrective actions or employee sanctions.
Staff are being disciplined, with actions ranging from warnings to
recovery of funds to termination of those responsible for the most
flagrant actions identified by the Auditor General.
The company is taking steps to recover funds from expenses claimed
inappropriately. Money that should be repaid will be repaid.
Stricter spending controls have been put in place: Employee expenses
must be approved by an executive or director; purchase cards for
individual employees have been cancelled; and spending on employee
recognition and rewards is suspended.
In April, the company will launch a "Do What's Right" ethics hotline for
employees, along with staff education on fraud prevention and ethics.
The company will soon hire a senior procurement manager who will be
tasked with implementing improvements to the strategic procurement
unit, whose work the Auditor General found ineffective.
The company is reviewing previous reports from the Auditor General as
well as the Bellamy Report for best practices on procurement, and is
meeting with the City of Toronto to discuss how it can save money by
working together more closely.
The company is strengthening its processes for vendor listings,
purchasing programs, accounts payable processes, and procurement
exception/sole source reporting systems. It will also put in place new
processes for expenses and procurement with its subsidiary companies.
In announcing management's response to the Auditor General's report, Ms.
Nakamura cited a series of steps the company has taken to promote
business excellence since she became CEO in February 2010. These
Conducting an external review of financial controls and procurement
Creating an ethics and compliance unit reporting to the CEO's office.
Conducting internal audits of bank deposits, operating unit budgets,
mileage claims, and purchase cards.
Reviewing the company's processes for commercial leasing, revenue
booking, expense approvals, invoice payments, cheque requisitions and
Putting in place a new executive team, including a new Chief Financial
Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Development Officer, with a
mandate to establish strict financial controls and rigorous oversight
of employee expenses and procurement.
Toronto Community Housing has invited the Auditor General to return in
2012 to audit its 2011 expenses to evaluate the effectiveness of the
changes it is making.
In the coming months, Toronto Community Housing will provide regular
progress updates about its work to the Board of Directors, to ensure it
is spending the public's money wisely and well. The Auditor General's
report will be presented at a special meeting of the Board of
Directors. The meeting is scheduled for March 3, 2011. The meeting is
open to the public.
"The board is angry and indignant at what the Auditor General has found,
because we believe Toronto Community Housing is capable of so much
more. We are confident, however, that the failures identified by the
audit reflect the company's past operations, not the present or the
"It would be tragic if these findings, as appalling as they are, are
used to undermine the importance of social housing or to attack Toronto
Community Housing's mission. Social housing is an essential part of
building a great city. Toronto Community Housing is an essential part
of the city we live in—and the city we want to be.
"The board hired the current CEO, Keiko Nakamura, because she has
leadership ability and personal integrity to make the changes the
company needs to make. She has the board's full confidence and
— David Mitchell, Chair, Toronto Community Housing Board of Directors
"I am outraged that the poor judgment and unacceptable actions of a few
employees have tarnished the reputation of the entire company. They
have embarrassed our board, and let down tenants, the mayor and
council, and the people of Toronto.
"As CEO, I have already made serious changes. The Auditor General has
recommended additional improvements. I will drive those changes through
every level of the organization.
"My expectations are crystal clear. Managers are accountable for how
every dollar in their budget is spent. Employees must follow
procedures, use good judgment, and spend the public's money with the
same care they would take spending their own money. Failure to do so
will have consequences, for them and the company."
— Keiko Nakamura, CEO, Toronto Community Housing
ABOUT TORONTO COMMUNITY HOUSING
Toronto Community Housing is Canada's largest social housing provider
and home to more than 164,000 tenants with low and moderate
incomes—about six per cent of the City of Toronto's population. Toronto
Community Housing employs 1,400 staff in a broad range of jobs, who
deliver its mandate to provide affordable housing, connect tenants to
services and opportunities, and work together to build healthy
What's already been done
A new executive team
Ethics and compliance unit
Stricter spending controls
Determining the need for further corrective actions or sanctions
External review of financial controls and procurement systems
Internal audits and reviews
"Do What's Right" ethics hotline
Senior procurement manager
Implement Auditor General and Bellamy Report best practices
Working closely with the city to save money
Revamped corporate processes and systems
Tighter controls in place with subsidiary companies
Regular progress updates to the Board of Directors and public
SOURCE Toronto Community Housing Corporation
For further information:
Jeffrey Ferrier, Media Relations, 416-981-4252, Jeffrey.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Rooks, Media Relations, 416-981-4347, email@example.com