Findings from forensic review of BC Housing released | CTV News The B.C. government says a forensic investigation of the Crown corporation that administers subsidized housing in the province has found "mismanagement related to a conflict of interest," but "found no evidence of public funds being disbursed outside of their intended purpose." The forensic investigation of BC Housing was released to the public on Monday, after an external review last June by Ernst & Young found problems within the agency. That earlier review revealed there was inadequate oversight over decisions and spending. There were also unclear roles and responsibilities within the agency which had the potential to impact the Crown corporation’s ability to manage risks, according to the report. The findings ultimately led Premier David Eby, who was the housing minister at the time, to fire the entire board of BC Housing. Eby then ordered the forensic investigation to examine the agency's dealings with certain service providers. 'UNDERMINED MY CONFIDENCE' Speaking at a news conference announcing the release of the report Monday, Eby said it had uncovered serious issues with the previous CEO and board of BC Housing failing to follow conflict-of-interest rules. The premier gave more detail than he has previously shared about the action he took after the initial Ernst & Young report, saying there was "strong evidence" that former BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsay "was repeatedly violating the conflict of interest rules." Quoting from the report, Eby said the conflict-of-interest violations had "permeated throughout the organization." "The concerns raised seriously undermined my confidence in Mr. Ramsay's leadership at BC Housing," Eby said. "I shared the information that I had with the then board at BC Housing. I received no communication from the board that they were prepared to make necessary changes to the leadership at BC Housing." Ramsay resigned as CEO of the Crown corporation in August 2022, a month after Eby replaced the board. 'DEEP CONCERNS' ABOUT ATIRA The premier added that the report raises "serious concerns" about the situation at Atira Women's Resource Society, one of the non-profit housing providers BC Housing hires to manage its facilities. Ramsay's conflict of interest related to his spouse's position as the CEO of Atira, according to a news release from the provincial government. Eby said he still has "deep concerns" about the situation at Atira, which the province has plans to address. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon elaborated on the situation and the planned response during Monday's news conference. "From reading employee testimonials in the investigation, we saw the former CEO of BC Housing repeatedly involving himself and influencing decisions that were made to benefit Atira Women's Resource Society," Kahlon said. "Rules were routinely bypassed and not followed." The housing minister said the province and BC Housing's new leadership will be conducting an operational review of its previous transactions involving Atira. No new funding will be provided to Atira while the review is ongoing, Kahlon said. The review will also include inspections of all Atira-operated buildings, according to the housing minister. "No one is above the rules," Eby said. "There must be strong safeguards in place to preserve the public's trust. We cannot allow bad behaviour to slow down our progress on providing housing to people." 20 RECOMMENDATIONS The forensic analysis was completed in March, but its release was delayed while the province contacted the service providers involved. On Monday, Eby and Kahlon said BC Housing has accepted all 20 of the report's recommendations and has already implemented many of them. They said they expect all 20 to be fully implemented by spring 2024. Among the 20 recommendations are the creation of an anonymous employee whistleblower hotline and changes at the executive committee level to ensure enhanced controls in the way that projects are approved, both of which are complete. Changes to the way budget and financial reviews of housing providers are completed and the implementation of enhanced tracking and reporting on the financial review process are "in progress," according to the province. The full list of recommendations can be found in section seven of the report, beginning on page 42. BC Housing develops, manages and administers subsidized housing in the province, mainly through non-profit organizations. It has a budget of nearly $2 billion.
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