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Young calls auditor’s report findings 'disappointing'

Opposition critic Aleana Young reacted to the findings of the report released Tuesday
Aleana Young
Aleana Young, NDP MLA for Regina University, speaks to reporters on the release of the auditor’s report.

REGINA — The word “disappointing” was used several times when Opposition critic Aleana Young spoke to reporters Tuesday about findings from provincial auditor Tara Clemett’s 2022 Report - Volume 1.

Young directed her words towards the Sask. Party government in power. She was critical of the findings regarding diversity in the public service. 

“It’s incredibly disappointing, especially given the challenges we’re going to have as a province and a lot of noise the government has made about immigration and the need to grow our labour markets,” Young said. 

It was something “we all agree on,” she said, but “when we look and we see that the diversity targets haven’t been updated since I was 14 years old, and that there are no goals that are being met and no plan to get there, it’s easy to see why we have the highest out-migration of new Canadians and newcomers in the provinces.”

She said there was a lot of work to do, and said having the government focus on ensuring that inclusion and equity and justice “is critical.”

Also cited in the auditor’s report were the gaps in the SLGA regulations regarding craft alcohol. Young said it was a positive story with the growth of craft alcohol in the province. “I am perhaps too well known for my enthusiastic support of some of our wonderful craft brewers in the province,” she said.

“I think what we see is a burgeoning and dynamic industry and with that comes added oversight, and the need for the government authorities to ensure that they’re doing their job, so that consumers can have confidence in supporting local … I think it’s important to ensure that regulational standards are being met, but it’s also important for this government to take a do not harm approach when it comes to such a dynamic and fast-growing industry.”

She called it concerning the government was “falling down on achieving some of the regulations that they need to meet to ensure that consumer confidence is there.” 

The Sun West School Division was also highlighted in the report for challenges on distance learning. Young said the level of support “hasn’t met the challenges of any division, let alone Sun West, which has done this innovative work over the last several years.”

“It’s disappointing to see that students of whom in many cases may be accessing distance-learning for very real reasons aren’t getting the same level of achievement, the same level of credit retention and achievement of other students. It’s a real disappointment to see those students shortchanged.”

Also cited in the report was 13 school divisions that had vulnerabilities in their IT systems. Young said the province wasn’t taking the issue seriously enough.

“Cyber security and the threats accompanying it unfortunately are going to be more and more of a reality,” said Young. She said Saskatchewan has been “behind the eight ball” and the focus “hasn’t been where it needs to be in ensuring cyber security.”

The auditor’s report also provided findings of a follow-up audit on foster care, with Young expressing disappointment that one of the recommendations requiring all background checks to be completed were not fully implemented. The report noted staff did not always complete the ministry record check on all adults residing in the home prior to ministry approval. 

“It’s really disappointing to see the priorities and where the efforts of government are placed when you have the most vulnerable little people in society are potentially ending up in unsafe situations and the due diligence isn’t being done.”