Transportation Critic calls winter maintenance AG report “a damning indictment”

April 29, 2015

Queens Park – MPP Michael Harris says today’s Auditor General Report on winter road maintenance exposes a government that has placed cost savings over the safety of Ontario motorists.

“The AG report makes it clear that while Premier Wynne was Transportation Minister she sat back and did nothing as performance-based cost-cutting contracts her government introduced caused winter road conditions to deteriorate placing the lives of Ontarians at risk,” Harris said. “This is the same government that wasted a billion dollars on Gas Plants to save a few seats trying to save a few bucks on the backs of Ontario motorists.”

Harris noted that the report confirms the Ministry’s performance-based contracts introduced in 2009 were initiated for no other reason but to save money, meaning contracts to the lowest bidder, and contractors with inadequate equipment failing to meet already extended road clearing standards – from 2 to 8 hours following snow.

“There were issues with less equipment, and supplies being used by contractors preventing timely road clearing, but the fact is that it was the Ministry that dictated the standards and the level of service,” Harris pointed out. “It’s government’s job to ensure equipment levels and service standards maintain the safety of Ontario motorists, and it’s government’s job to provide the oversight to ensure that safety going forward.”

“Yet for a $36 million dollar savings, the Liberal government made the decision to waive that responsibility, placing the safety and lives of Ontarians at risk.”

Harris concluded that given the fact the Liberal government allowed winter road maintenance to deteriorate for five years even as ministry staff raised serious concerns about contractors’ ability to meet their commitments, the Premier and the Minister owe the people of Ontario an apology.

Watch Michael Harris’ question in the house: