New auditor general says office narrowing focus on federal COVID-19 programs


OTTAWA — The nominee to be Canada’s next auditor general says the office will cast a critical eye on federal pandemic preparedness and key spending the Liberals have rolled out to cushion the economic blow from COVID-19.

Karen Hogan told MPs vetting her candidacy today that the potential for fraud in some of the rush emergency aid programs may further expand the scope of audit work.

The office has delayed multiple reviews of federal programs to look at the Liberals’ $187-billion infrastructure program and now $151.7-billion in pandemic-related aid.

Hogan says other work might have to fall by the wayside if the auditor general’s office can’t get millions more in funding.

Her comments came on the same day the federal government expanded a small-business loan program after weeks of criticism for its design.