Audit Committee – June 28, 2019 – Part 1 of 2

Audit Committee – June 28, 2019 – Part 1 of 2


Good morning, everybody.
Welcome to the third meeting of the Audit Committee.
As we have quorum present I call this meeting to nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by
Treaty 13 with the Mississauga of the Credit. Are there any declarations of interest, please
indicate the item number and the nature of the interest.
Seeing none, I’m going to hold here for a moment.
I’m just going to offer the auditor general a special point of privilege here.
She wanted to make a quick announcement before we get into the meeting.
Yes, very quickly. We often say it takes a village to raise a
child, well it takes a village to prepare a report.
Within my office there’s a lot of helping hands.
One of the key people who has been helping over the last 8 to 10 years as a civil servant
of 18 years with the city is Carolyn Garomoni. She’s retiring joining her husband who retired
9 years previous to her. She makes sure the reports look beautiful,
the presentations look great. I think many times we underestimate our main
staff and many times they are the strategic arm of our organization.
They often have a lot of insight because they see things from a different perspective.
I want to wish her congratulations on her retirement.
She was too shy to come today, back still working her very last day in the office.
I want to thank her for all of her service. I would just take a moment to say I think
every Councillor around this horseshoe right here knows that in order for us to be successful
we rely on the helping hands in our office and the professionals we have helping us and
really even further the city staff. I know that I’ve worked with Carolyn a number
of times in working with the auditor general and know her to be a professional.
Know her to be incredibly helpful. I think the success of this committee appreciate
— is due in part to her work and appreciate it and wanted to say my thank you as well
on the record. Best wishes to Carolyn.
Now I’ll take a motion to confirm the Audit Committee meetings from May 3rd, 2019.
Councillor Matlow. All those in favour?
That is carried. We’ve got 18 items on the agenda today.
Let’s run through them. AU3.1 financial statements for the year end
December 31st, 2018, agencies and corporations part 1.
We do not have speakers registered on this. Are there any members wishing to hold these
items or ask questions? All right.
May I take a motion that recommends that City Council receive for information the 2018 financial
statements and related documents for the following agencies and corporations, exhibition place,
Toronto Parking Authority, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto zoo.
Councillor Ford. So moved.
All those in favour? Any opposed?
That is carried. AU3.2, business improvement area, bias, 2018
audited financial statements report number 1.
Are there any members wishing to hold? I do wish to hold that item.
I think we’ll be relatively quick on that. There is a motion on that so I’ll put that
in my name. I think we just need a moment to get that
filing ready. AU3.3 arenas 2018 audited financial statements.
Any questions on that item or members wishing to speak to it?
Again, I do wish to place a motion. I think it will be rather quick.
So I’m going to hold that in my name. AU3.4 community centers 2018 audited financial
statements. Any members with questions or wishing to speak
to that item? Seeing none I’ll take a motion that City Council
receive the 2018 audited financial estimates of community centers attached to the report.
Councillor Nunziata. All those in favour?
Any opposed? That is carried.
AU3.5, status of the financial statements audits for the year end December 31st, 2018.
Any members wishing to ask questions or speak to the item?
So, again, I do have a motion on that. I think it will be relatively quick.
I’ll put my name on that as the individual holding it.
AU3.6 auditor general’s 2019 status report on outstanding audit recommendations for city
agencies and corporations. Councillor Filion.
AU3.7, 2018 audited consolidated financial statements, City of Toronto.
We both have a speaker and a presentation on this so we’ll hold that.
AU3.8, trust funds 2018 audited consolidated financial statements.
Are there any members wishing to speak to or to ask questions on that item?
Seeing none may I have a motion that City Council approve the 2018 consolidated financial
statements for the City of Toronto trust funds as attached appendix a?
Councillor Nunziata. Any opposed?
That’s carried. 3.8, any members wishing to is questions or
speak to the item? Seeing none may I have a motion that City
Council approve the 2018 sinking funds statements as attached in appendix a of the report.
Anyone wishing to move that? Councillor Ford.
All those in favour? Any opposed?
That is carried. 3.10, you to general’s 2018 report on outstanding
audit recommendations for city divisions in infrastructure and development services.
Councillor Filion. AU3.11, pension payroll and benefits update
on au7.2 audit recommendations. Any members wishing to ask questions on that
item or speak to it? Seeing none, may I have a motion that Audit
Committee receive this report for information? Councillor Matlow.
All those in favour? Any opposed?
That is carried. AU3.12, establishment of the city’s cyber
security program to enable vulnerability testing? Any members wishing to ask questions?
Councillor Filion. AU3.13, audit of city cleaning services, outstanding
recommendations of greatest concern. Any members wishing to hold that item?
Councillor Ford. AU3.14, opening doors to stable housing and
effective waiting lists and reduced vacancy rates will help more people access housing.
There’s a presentation and a speaker on this item so that will be held.
AU3.15 construction contract change management controls should be strengthened.
Are there any members wishing to ask questions? Councillor Ford.
AU3.16 audit of interface in volunteers payments improving contract management and payment
processes. Are there any members wishing to is questions
or speak to this item? Seeing none, may I request a member to move
this staff recommendations? Anyone?
Councillor Matlow. All those in favour?
Any opposed? That is carried.
AU3.17 previous audit reports common themes and issues.
Just got some advice from the clerk on — I’m being advised that the recommendation is to
place a motion to with draw the item. May I have a member place that?
I wonder if you could provide comment on the reason we’re going to with draw AU3.17.
I require a bit more time. I had a late report in relation to the ransomware
where we had to conduct extra work that came up unannounced.
I require a bit more time. That will be there in October.
Thank you. May I take a motion to with draw the item.
Councillor Ford. All those in favour?
Any opposed? That is carried.
Finally AU3.18 process to obtain external audit services for 2020 to 2024 inclusive.
I just looked to the clerk for advice. May I take a motion to receive the item?
Councillor Matlow. All those in favour?
Any opposed? That is carried.
Mr. Chair, may I just say a brief comment on a point of privilege?
Councillor Matlow point of privilege. Just a little more than a month ago Premier
Ford made some statements about the work of the auditor general and the work of this Audit
Committee that were — in the words of our chair damaging and misleading.
It is not — I would say it’s fair to say typical of Councillor Holyday’s comfort level
to speak out when a conservative government may do something that’s adverse to the work
that we’re doing. That being said though, he stepped out of
that comfort level and demonstrated remarkable leadership and courage especially in that
context. So I just want to acknowledge the work of
our chair who when there were unfair statements made and when there was sort of politics being
thrown at us that that way chair Holyday took I think a very admirable stand and I just
wanted to acknowledge that publicly. Thank you very kindly Councillor Matlow.
I really appreciate that. As you can see by that statement I take pride
in this committee and I owe the success of this committee to my colleagues that sit on
it. I’m just going to check with the clerk here
if we have the motions ready so we can get the items released and get people on their
way in time for the long weekend. Okay.
The clerks are advising me that we just need another moment.
With the permission of the committee jump — that’s very kind of you.
I will acknowledge that I — I’m going to acknowledge that I did hold AU3.5 and I admit
an error in my moments. Councillor Filion kindly held the item that
I was targeting. I will take a moment here to bring up AU3.5
status of the financial statement audits of the city’s agencies and corporations for the
year end December 2018. I do not need to hold that.
Do any members have any questions or wish to speak on that item?
Seeing none I will take a motion to implement the staff recognize — recommendations in
the report here. Councillor Nunziata.
All those in favour? Any opposed?
And AU3.5 is carried. Do we still need more time on those?
We’re good to go. All right.
So we’ll go to AU3.2. Business improvement areas 2018 audited financial
statements, report number 1. I’m just going to just double check if anyone
had any questions about this. So I’ll speak to it very quickly and place
this motion. I’m going to place a similar one in a moment.
I will take note that career town and Queen Street west bias had some outstanding audit
recommendations. Been thinking carefully about what this committee
does with outstanding audit recs. My request with the support of the committee
is that we have those bias give us some more information on how they are going to address
those recommendations that are found in the management letters attached herein.
Are there any questions about this particular motion?
What is outstanding audited? So deep in the financial statements attached
here a couple of the bias have management letters and in the management letters are
audit recommendations, similar to what we would find from our auditor general in the
reports. A few of them have been persistent.
I think that we want to make sure that we balance out the role of the committee to point
those out and make the requests to the bias to deal with those matters so they don’t come
back year after year. We’ll ask the auditor general to report to
us on the status of that process. All of those in favour of the motion before
us? That is carried.
And so then it would be the item as amended. All those in favour?
That is carried. We’ll go to AU3.3.
Arenas 2018 audited financial statements. I also held that and I also have a similar
motion. We can have that put on the screen.
In the financial statements there are things that the management letters audit items and
so I’m asking that those arenas — all arenas really look at the outstanding matters and
speak to the auditor general on what the progress is on implementation of those and then we’ll
have a report back. So all of those in favour of the amendment?
That is carried. And the item as amended?
That is carried. All right.
AU3.7, City of Toronto 2018 audited consolidated financial statements.
We have a speaker. I will ask Henrick beckman to come forward.
Good morning, Henrick. Welcome to the Audit Committee.
I see you’re just getting a laptop set up there.
We’ll just give you a moment there to get that going.
Again, welcome to the Audit Committee. I don’t know if you’ve deputed before but
you’ve got five minutes and I’ll have the clock running there for you.
Are you all set to go? I just am having some trouble with my cursor
but — no problem. Just take a few moments here to make sure
you’re up and running. Just to let you know as well, the materials
you submitted have been circulated to the committee members.
So we should all have that on our desks. So good morning.
I’m just here to make a proposal for a very simple change to the actual format of the
consolidated statement of operations and accumulated surplus which is part of the audited statements.
Who am I and why am I doing this you may ask? Thank you very much.
I’m a retired software developer. I have an interest in making financial information
of the city as accessible as possible to the people of Toronto so for years now I’ve been
looking for ways to help with that. Some of you may have heard of budgetpedia.ca.
I worked on that for quite a few years. The reason I’m here today is that probably
the simplest thing that can be done to improve the communication of the city’s status to
the people of Toronto and for that matter to Councillors and staff and everybody else
is what I’m about to suggest. That is a change of format to the — to this
statement of operations. As most of you or probably all of you are
well aware, all revenues of all types appear in this statement of operations and surplus
whether it’s money that’s coming in for capital operation — you know, capital investments
or money that’s coming in for operations such as the, you know, daily operations of the
city and of the transit and so forth. We’re having lots of fun with my computer
here. The problem is that the expense portion of
that operation statement really only apply — really only relates to the daily operations
of the city whereas the revenues as I’ve just noted include both capital and operations
revenue. Therefore the surplus is sort of muddled because
the surplus combines or conflates money that’s coming in for capital purposes which is nothing
to do with operations or not directly with surplus for operations.
It turns out that there’s a very simple fix for that.
In the absence of a screen if you were just to go to the second page of my presentation
you’ll see what I’m talking about. Yes, that one.
The short story is that if we just move the capital — the revenue that’s dedicated to
the capital portion of cost to the bottom of that statement then that will isolate the
operational aspects of the financial statements. In other words, that will leave as the top
line revenue item only revenue that comes in for operations.
So the result would be that the first surplus that’s reported at the boat is in fact only
a surplus for operations. What’s the advantage of that?
Well, it’s easy to tell at a glance for anyone where operations go and isolate the money
that we get for capital. So if you go to — so let me just say that
this is not something I’ve made up myself. This is actually something that is being done
in other cities. I thought the easiest thing to do would be
to give some examples of that. So I think if you go to the third page of
my presentation you’ll see a statement there by — from Calgary.
Yes, with the red box there. As you’ll recall just above the red box there’s
a slight deficit of $700,000 — of $70,000. Underneath that they add the capital portions
of the revenue so that is clear that that’s money coming in for other purposes.
At the bottom I believe there’s a surplus for all purposes of a billion dollars.
So I mean it’s — it really is a very simple thing that I’m suggesting for the format here.
To isolate the capital portion of the revenue at the bottom of that statement so that people
can see at a glance really what it is. In the case of the Toronto audited statement,
I think you’ll see that there’s an annual surplus there of $1.4 billion.
I think on the first page of my presentation I’ve looked at — I’ve made a copy for you
of item 20 of the notes or note 20 which shows that about a billion dollars of that revenue
in terms of transfers from governments is in fact earmarked for capital.
So in fact the — what’s reported there is the annual surplus of $1.4 billion is actually
closer to $400 million from operations. You know, we certainly have the money for
— of a billion dollars for those capital items.
So I’m simply saying that making that very small format change on the statements would
make it — I’m over time already. I’m so sorry.
Thank you. Making that small change would make it clear
to everyone at a glance what is going on. Thank you for speaking to us.
May I ask are there any questions of the committee? Questions of staff?
So I’ll ask a very quick one. Do you know is there a governing standard
that applies to municipal reporting. Obviously you have some in depth knowledge
on that. Are we following a different standard than
the other cities? Do we have ultimate flexibility?
I believe that probably all or most municipalities and from what I can see from these other statements,
I didn’t actually look it up follow the pasb, the public standards accounting board, the
national board of accounting academics that sets the standards that we’re talking about.
From what I can see from the lay out of the statements of the other cities, they also
follow that standard. I’m sure it’s in the audited statements.
I didn’t look specifically but I would be surprised if they don’t.
It’s a national standard. I’m certain all major municipalities follow it.
The auditors rely very much on management for their information.
To some extent for the format that a particular city would want to follow.
So, again, I’m sorry I can’t cite a particular item but I have to infer that because it’s
used in a number of cities and by the way not used in other cities, so I looked at Montreal
and Vancouver and they don’t do this, though I think it’s very easy.
I have to infer that there is latitude within the psab to allow for this standard.
I mean, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg I think are the three cities I’ve shown and they surely
will follow the standards that Toronto does. I acknowledged hi — I failed to start my
timer so I’ll limit myself to one last question. The government transfers is a very large piece
of money in here, $3.5 billion. Would it be required that that number be broken
down all the way down the tree right down to the smallest finest grains in order to
split the difference between capital and operating? So it’s more than just a line item, it would
be a fundamental change in the accounting roll up.
I’m assuming it can be done. In essence what you’re saying is you’ve got
to pull out the government transfers and identify the capital verses operating and then it would
— I think it would make a fundamental difference on what the annual surplus comes out to be.
Well, yes. It would make no difference in the very bottom
line in terms of the money but certainly make a difference and a meaning difference, a very
meaningful difference of the top line. There’s a report that’s presented with the
annual budget which has a very long and obscure name and I’ve never been able to memorize
it. The Ontario government requires Toronto to
cast the annual budget in accrual terms if anybody knows what that is.
Up until this year every year that report has included a line item that says in the
budget assets that are dedicated to — sorry, revenue that is dedicated to capital project
projects. So I have to assume from that going over the
years that’s been presented all the time since they’re able to present that information from
a budgetary point of view that would also be available for the actual numbers that come
up. So, again, you would have to check with the
accounting people but my inference and certainly my hope is that this is a simple change that
has to be made at the top. Could be done with a minimal amount of effort.
Again, the benefit I think is quite large in this instance in that it does make very
clear what the operational surplus of the city would be.
So, again, I’m sorry, I don’t have a specific definitive answer but I think it’s very, very
likely that that — that the information I’m suggesting is readily available.
Thanks very much for speaking to us today. Just check, are there any other questions?
Wonderful. Thank you again for coming today.
Thank you. Okay.
Councillor Matlow, you had indicated the desire to question staff.
We have the auditor here, we’ve got management staff and I believe we have pwc here as well.
My question actually is in the same line. Rather than the — pardon me.
The clerk reminded me that we have a presentation as well.
I’m going to propose that we hold the questions so we can get into all the pieces.
My apologies. It’s Friday and it slipped my mind that we
have a presentation. Thank you.
Good to go. Thank you.
Welcome. Good morning chair and members of the Audit
Committee. I’m Andrew, the controller of the city.
I have with me Sandra, the director of the services branch and we’re pleased to be here
to present the city’s consolidated financial statements.
I would like to acknowledge that we have three members of pwc, our auditors here in the audience,
Michael and Kathy, the engagement partners and umar who is the audit manager.
The staff report included in the package that accompanies the financial statements provides
the details and highlights on the financial statements and hopefully helps to give some
meaning to the numbers. So with that introduction I’ll ask Sandra
to walk us through the presentation. I’d like to
provide some highlights of the financial position and the results for the year end.
The statement of financial position or actually the consolidated statements consist of four
major statements. The statement of financial position is the
city’s balance sheet which reports on the city’s financial assets and financial liabilities,
its non-financial assets, the deficit between the city’s financial asset and liabilities
which is net debt and surplus. The you cumulated surplus is the city’s income
statement where we report revenues, expenses and results for the year.
The statement of — the consolidated statement of net debt is the annual service and the
change in the net debt position. The consolidated statement of cash flows reports
where the city’s cash came from and how it was used.
The financial statements also contain notes which disclose our accounting policies and
further details on each balance and they are also an integral part of the consolidated
statements. So the city’s consolidated statements include
all entities controlled by the city. There’s 122 entities consolidated into the
city’s statements that include all city divisions, 21 agencies and corporations and 101 smaller
entities such as the bias. Also included is the city’s proportional share
of the Toronto water front corporation and the pan am sports centre.
Finally the city owns 100% investment in two government business enterprises which are
separate self-supporting legal entities. These are Toronto hydro and the Toronto Parking
Authority. There are distinct roles and responsibilities
as part of the financial reporting process. Management is responsible for internal controls
and sound financial management and the preparation of these statements in accordance with Canadian
public sector accounting standards. The external auditors perform evaluation and
testing of critical financial systems and perform other tests in accordance with generally
accepted auditing standards in order to express an opinion on the financial statements.
An Audit Committee which is what we have before you today is required to approve these statements
prior to presentation to council. We just wanted to highlight a few differences
in how transactions are accounted for in the financial statements and in budgets.
The financial statements must be prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting
standards as set by Canada’s accounting board. We use full accrual in transactions from preparing
the financial statements. Budgets are prepared primarily on a cash basis.
A second major difference is the treatment of tangible capital assets which are used
to provide city services. For budget purposes, tca are expensed in the
year they are acquired or developed and for accounting purposes they can — they are capitalized
as non-financial assets and used over their life.
Before I go into the highlights we want to highlight some differences between the 2017
and the 2018 statements. Prior to 2018 Toronto recognized the investment
in the Portland company as a investment in the government entity.
Shareholder direction changed on January 1st, 2018, which resulted in a reporting status
change for TPLC. Meaning that the city needed to now account
for it differently. Under pcas TPLC changed from an equity pick
up to agency status that required line by line consolidation.
So we replaced a $383 million investment line with asset the value of assets, liabilities,
revenues and expenses. In addition TPLC is now required to follow
the contaminated site standards ps3260 resulting in a $56.6 million environmental and contaminated
site liability recorded in the books. This liability reflects management’s responsibility
to mitigate risk through management or containment of contaminants on TPLC owned properties and
consist went the other liabilities recorded by the city.
In addition in order to support the city’s climate action strategy, transform T.O., our
consolidated statements for the first time contain an unaudited no et that outlines the
city’s green how gas emissions reduction targets to 2050 along with the city’s reduction progress
to the end of December 31st, 2018. So now just like to give you some financial
highlights. So the statement of financial position reflects
that the city has financial assets totaling $11.3 billion.
30% of those assets are investments in government bonds and money market instruments which bring
revenue to the city. 19% is our investment in Toronto hydro and
the Toronto Parking Authority and 51% consists of cash balances, accounts receivable and
taxes receivable. Our liabilities total 19.4 billion.
76% of the $3.8 billion accounts payable and accrued reliable balance relates to trade
payables. Payables that we owe to organizations doing
business with the city. $3.8 billion is deferred revenue, a large
portion of which is the balance in development charges and park levies.
These are revenues — or cash that’s received by the city that’s not recorded into — taken
into revenue until the transaction that gave rise to it actually occurs.
$6.8 billion is long-term debt and mortgages for the city, agencies and corporations.
So debt is issued for the acquisition and construction of tang and capital assets which
are required to perform city services. $4 billion is the value of the employee benefits
liability that consists mainly of health and post-retirement, medical and dental obligations.
The city’s net debt is $8 billion. The net debt is the difference between the
total liabilities and the financial assets. This is an important measure for all cities
and governments because it’s the value that represents the amounts that must be financed
from future revenues. It’s important to note that within this balance
is the net long term debt and mortgages that are essential to the development and acquisition
of tangible capital assets. The non-financial assets consist mainly of
tangible capital assets. So of the $33.3 billion balance, $32.7 is
tangible capital assets. The city’s accumulated surplus is $25.2 billion.
So just very quickly taking you through four line items, net long term debt and mortgages
includes debenchers and morning debt objectly — morning debt obligations.
In 2018 service $937 million in debt and made $331 million in repayments.
Employee benefits liabilities represent amounts payable to third parties or employees in future
years based on employee credited service from the current or prior years.
These payables relate mainly to boricers compensation, long-term disability and health benefits for
early retires and benefits for those retirees covered by the legacy’s pension plans.
The net liability increased by $129 million or 3.3% that was the result of three benefits
for the TTC and the Toronto police service. The city’s net debt of $8 billion increased
by 13% over 2017’s balance. As mentioned earlier, this value is extremely
important to municipalities as it represents payments that must be funded from future revenues.
Again, a reminder that this includes the net debt that is required to acquire the assets
for city services. Non-financial assets as indicated earlier
represent — mostly represents the city’s investment in tangible capital assets.
In 2018 the city recorded $3.5 billion in tangible capital assets acquired or developed.
As the city uses these assets they are written down over their expected useful life.
So in 2018 we recorded amortization in the statement of operations of $1.2 billion.
Just want to highlight a few things from the statement of operations and accumulated surplus.
So this is the city’s equivalent of the income statement.
In 2018 on a consolidated basis the city earned $13.7 billion which consisted mainly of property
taxes, user charges and funding transfers from other governments.
The expenses occurred total $12.3 billion mostly in transportation, social and family
services, the protection of persons and property and recreation and cultural services.
The difference between revenues and expenses is called the annual surplus which was $1.4
billion. That value gets added to the opening accumulated
surplus for an ending accumulated surplus of $25.2 billion.
So Mr. Chair and members of Audit Committee, these are the city’s audited consolidated
financial statements presented to you for approval.
So thank you Councillor. Just to — one — a couple of concluding remarks.
So thank you Councillor. Just to — one — a couple of concluding remarks.
It’s important to note that the audit opinion that pwc will be issuing is referred to as
a clean opinion. It’s an unqualified audit opinion that demonstrates that we’ve presented
the financial statements fairly in accordance with all material respects.
The information that’s provided in the financial statements is comprehensive enough to support
the city’s credit rating of aa plus. 60 a lot of our net debt is associated with
the continued investment in in tangle capital assets.
So in roads and bridges and all of those types of things.
Those will continue to be measures and strategies that we have to continue to consider as we
continue to maintain the city’s financial sustainability and the last thing I’d just
point out is that for the 11th year in a row the financial statements are going to receive
a government finance officer’s award for financial reporting and the last thing I’d just like
to point out is the preparation and the presentation of financial statements is a long process
and I’d just like to note a couple of staff who are here with me in the audience.
So Stella, Danielle and Chris phillips and their teams have put a tremendous amount of
effort into the preparation of these if statements. That’s our report if you have any questions.
Thank you very much. I’ll ask the committee if members wish to
ask questions. Councillor Matlow, start with you.
Allow me to begin by reiterating that gratitude to all of you who have worked oh — on this.
I can imagine when we see a few slides that’s really just the end result in a minor reflection
of the magnitude of work that you’ve done so I really appreciate that.
So I’m going to ask, it might go to you or perhaps somebody else in the room.
Do we know of a municipality in the world roughly Toronto’s size that isn’t carrying
billions of dollars of debt? So pop quiz today.
Councillor, I’ll be honest, I don’t know of any municipality of any size that has the
capital requirements that the city does that would not have a significant amount of debt.
I guess I’d go to the point of saying most accountants would tell you that the — when
you’re making a long-term investment you also use debt resources to do so.
Matt would you characterize the debt that we have for capital priorities good debt or
bad debt? Good debt.
I don’t know your personal financial situation Councillor but I presume you have a mortgage
to buy your house. I would put our situation in exactly in the
same place. By don’t have the resources to make the massive
capital investments that we need to do so we need to borrow to do so.
I know technically it’s good debt when I have to pay it, I consider it bad debt.
And could you remind us roughly how much does it cost the City of Toronto to service that
debt, the debt that we have? Annually.
I’ll ask another question while you’re looking that up.
I’m going to move on how we share and display the audits and our budgets every year.
Each and every year shths going back to the deputation, each and every year when it’s
budget time I hear from residents — this has been going on for years.
The average layperson has no idea what the heck we’re reviewing, the difference between
the operating budget and the capital budget and the rate-based budget and, you know, what
really is our debt and what is not and what our surplus and then we find out that we have
a surplus but we don’t have a as you were plus because we’re servicing the debt.
Has been in recent times a review of best practices both domestic and internationally
for how to better provide information both to council — the mayor and the council but
also to the public whether it be through open data, whether it be through other practices
as suggested through the deputation. Just to make it an average read for people
who don’t have your education. Councillor, I recognize that it’s extraordinarily
complicated, not just for the average person but for everybody.
The difference between our financial statements and the budgets often has to do with forecasting
and budgeting for the cash needs of the organization is different than the accounting recognition.
That by itself creates a difficulty. So from a budgeting perspective we have to
budget for cash purchases that in our financial statements are treated as an asset.
The capital asset and the capital program being the largest that we talk about.
Just to be clear, has there been a review of this in recent years that you’re aware
of? So that’s an on going process, the budget
modernization process that the city is going through right now is attempting to address
that to make things easier to be understood. It’s something we’re always striving to do
is to try to make this understandable, recognizing that it is a significant challenge.
With the time remaining, did you find an answer? It’s about $300 million.
$300 million. Is it — so is it — I always hear that it’s
— this is the average person talking, right. There’s an assumption that we should always
— a city like ours should always be carrying billions of dollars of debt.
That being said though, while it may be a good debt because we are contributing to capital
priorities, we still have to spend hundreds of millions to service it which isn’t going
to all our other priorities every year. Some will say it is critical that we pay down
that debt as quickly as possible, this is a burden that our kids are going to be inheriting.
What say you as professional auditors? Is it reasonable to continue to carry billions
of dollars of debt or should it be government, no matter what their stripe or ideology, should
it be a priority to pay down that debt so we have fewer dollars having to go into servicing?
So Councillor, I guess a certain amount of the good debt is required for an organization
of our size and capital improvements to need to be made.
So the question always becomes, yes, we’re servicing the debt, $300 million a year.
However, that’s allowed for substantially larger investments in capital assets.
So the point would be if we don’t have that debt and still would like to make those capital
investments we would have to find revenue from other sources which the city does not
have those revenue tools to be able to continue to make that investment.
So the debt is a tool and it’s only a tool to continue to make the investments in capital
assets. Thank you.
Councillor Filion. Thanks.
So because I have no financial background I tend to look at these things in a perhaps
overly simplistic way. I’m really concerned about the 13% increase
in debt which looks like it’s about half — more than half a billion dollars.
I know that tangible assets have gone up but they are tangible assets that were never going
to realize the increase in the value or not going to be selling them I assume.
So on a balance sheet it might look okay but the fact is you have one that’s increasing
in value but you don’t ever realize that value. The other side you have this, you know, extra
half a billion dollars in debt that you do have to at some point somehow pay off.
So did the — I don’t want to get into budget discussion, that’s part of the purview of
the Budget Committee. Did the auditor raise any concerns about our
increasing — rapidly increasing debt level? So Councillor I guess the point would be made,
yes, our debt has increased by the amount you described.
Our capital asset purchases was in the tune of $3.5 billion.
So that was the rational and the reason for why the debt has increased by that net amount.
The auditor’s have not to my knowledge expressed any concern about that increase of debt.
Again, because it’s — because of why it was purchased.
The other thing to point out is that the ventures are a long-life debt.
So they match the life of the assets that we’re receiving.
So the financial statements reflect the annual realization of the value.
That’s what the amortization event does. It writes off the value of those capital assets
over their life. So that — between those two things I recognize
your concern about the increasing debt. However, it is over a long life.
It’s matched by the life of the assets that they were used — that we borrowed against.
As a matter of fact, our debt can only be — can only be used to finance certain types
of capital assets so that they are matched in that context.
Shouldn’t it be matched against the ability to pay off?
And the continued operations of the city to do allow for that to be paid off, that’s the
debt service that Sandra mentioned. Even with that debt service included in our
financial statements we have a surplus. Isn’t it the job of the auditor to raise red
flags or that’s not their job, just making sure everything balances?
No, the auditor’s job if they have a concern about the manner in which — it would not
just be the external auditor’s responsibility, the management and the auditor general’s obligation
to bring forward to the Audit Committee that we have a concern around the relative financial
sustainability of the city. Thank you.
Just a question of I guess either the chair or the auditor general.
Do either of you meet privately with the auditor to say everything looked good here, did you
get full cooperation? Everything on the up and up?
Yes, we do on a regular basis and if anything comes up we make sure it’s resolved.
If there’s issues to bring to the table we would bring them to the table.
We do meet regularly. Good.
I just think it’s a good practice so I just wanted to make sure that we were doing it
at some level. Were there any other questions?
Just check. So I had a couple.
I guess the first one I wanted to ask was I think it’s to pwc because Mr. Beckman brought
up a point about the detail and the way that we provide the financial statements.
I’ll start with pwc. I wondered if you could offer some comment
on why it is reported the way that it is and if management wanted to add to it I’m welcoming
that. We’ll start with the auditor and maybe you
can speak to the standards. Certainly. Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
So I can’t confirm that the presentation and the current draft of the financial statements
for the City of Toronto, this is a common presentation.
It is in accordance with public sector accounting standards.
The presentation suggested by the speaker is also allowable under public sector accounting’s
standards and it would be management’s preference how they want to present the statement of
operations for the city. My sense about this because I’m not involved
in this process somewhat accurate that it’s more than a single line item on the final
presentation but you would have to look far deeper down the line when you looked at the
government transfers to split out the accounting on capital verses operating?
So a lot of work does go into the number to roll up to enable to separate it as was suggested?
Yeah. So to clarify, no impact on the annual surplus
for the city. Essentially what I understand is being requested
by the speaker is agree — geography of the capital, transfer in the statement of operations.
So what is being suggested is to move it down below later on in the statement to show operating
surplus as one subtotal and then including any capital related transfers to arrive at
annual surplus, which would not change to what’s been reflected here.
So it’s geography between two line items. The speaker I take it as accurate as well
that other municipalities may choose to report this differently.
He had brought up other examples where — it was Calgary and other places they do address
the geography differently. We haven’t looked at their financial statements
but it would be allowable. If I turn it over the management, you’ve given
this due consideration about how these numbers are organized.
You know, is this something that you explore or management considers in the preparation
of these statements? So in the preparation of the financial statements
from a perspective of — we would look to consistency as well as common treatment and
as indicated this is a common presentation. Certainly we could look into the request.
There would need to be as part of the consolidation roll up a consideration of the definition
of what is a capital verses an operating type of expenditure.
It wouldn’t be quite as simple as just taking government transfers associated with capital
and putting it down into one line. We would have to make sure that we matched
the revenue and the expenses. Right.
So you would have to plan for this is what you’re saying, embark on the process with
this in mind. You wouldn’t change the report at the end,
you would work through this process with that end goal in mind?
Absolutely. I wanted to ask something a little different.
Item number 24 in the notes talks about greenhouse gas emission reductions.
I took note of that. It’s a little bit different than the financials
and I wondered if you could provide comment to the committee on why that’s in there.
Certainly. This is accounts trying to be cutting edge,
Councillor. The accounting standards board is looking
at how to move forward with respect to greenhouse gas emission type disclosures and including
them in regular reporting. We’ve taken an initial first step in this
context of setting what the city’s targets are and the progress being made.
It is still very much new disclosure and disclosure that the accounting industry is working through.
But we’ve taken a bit of a lead in this context and I know the CFO is working with her colleagues
across the communities and also internationally about trying to make this kind of disclosure
common in financial statements to give cities an opportunity to make disclosures that are
relevant for the future. Great.
Thanks very much. Any other questions?
Seeing none, those wishing to speak? Councillor Matlow, you would.
Thank you. Mr. Chair, I have a motion.
The motion is that City Council requests the chief financial officer and treasurer and
the controller to review the city’s budget documents and consolidated financial statement
or the way rather the city’s budget and consolidated statements are prepared to increase transparency
with members, staff and the member to easily understand the city’s financial situation.
This review should include current best practices nationally and internationally and enable
the financial statement to be an open data item.
Further request to report on this to the Audit Committee prior to the budget cycling of — cycle
of 2020. I think all of us heard over the years that the average person living in Toronto
who want to understand our consolidated financial statements or during budget time when we are
reviewing our over all budget struggle to understand the difference between our operating
budget, our capital budget, our rate-based budget what debt we have, why we have that
debt and what it’s going to and also do we have a surplus and how do we have a surplus
when we’re servicing debt. There’s a lot of questions that the layperson
will ask. They really struggle to understand based on
how the information is provided to them. I’ve heard for years that just — it’s — while
it by nature is a complex subject it doesn’t necessarily have to be presented as complex
as it is. I’m curious to know whether or not there are
best practices we can learn from elsewhere that do a better job than we do.
You know, I like how this motion also refers to members and staff too.
I think admittedly there’s members of council that struggle to fully understand the statement.
The easiest it is to digest and understand the more informed the debate and the opinions
will be. Then hopefully the better decisions we’ll
make. So this is about transparency, democracy and
better decision making when we actually know what we’re reading and what we’re talking
about. The other thing I wanted to note during my
time is as you could hear earlier, I’m really interested in the whole concept of debt because
I hate debt. Just the word alone I think makes all of us
feel uncomfortable. I had experience in my early 20s when I got
myself into a really bad situation with credit card debt.
It took me years to climb out of that hole. That experience hit me so hard that I just
cannot carry a balance month to month on my credit card.
I feel uncomfortable doing that. Like the moment — typically the day that
I use my credit card I’ll go on line on my mobile and just like transfer money from my
checking account and just pay off that balance just so I — mentally I know I’m not carrying
it. Not everybody has that opportunity.
Some people struggle to like pay it off for years.
I was in that situation. I feel uncomfortable personally carrying debt.
I bring that same mentality to my work in public life being a trustee of the city’s
finances. That being said, I do recognize the argue
that there — that when we have pressing capital priorities needs and you simply don’t have
the revenue available or any other place to use — to get money immediately to pay for
critically important capital investments and often there’s timing involved when — you
know, when rates are low and you have a moment where you can purchase what you need for the
future those are the times you need to do it and those are the times you need to get
— you got to incur some debt to be able to make those investments.
I get all that. When I learned that we have to pay roughly
$300 million each year in servicing that debt it does make my think about what you could
use that money for each year other than paying off our collective credit card.
So I conclude by saying that I recognize that we need to have debt at certain times but
I also don’t think that we could just feel comfortable with the status quo, that’s just
the way it always has been and that’s the way it always be and that’s the way it should
be. I would sub many — submit that we do need
to look at a combination of what the city can do to have a reasonable diversity of revenue
tools to pay now for the things we need and have a clean line of accountability and what
we invest in and whether it be fees or taxation that we have.
I would also submit that we have to always look at our priorities.
I’m not going to — I’ll end on this. I know, for example, the Scarborough subway
is controversial. I’m not going to go down that rabbit hole
today. It’s just an example of where we have debates
over priorities. That perhaps if we didn’t spend those hundreds
of millions if not billions of dollars on certain things they would be available for
maybe more pressing priorities that we could spend the money more wisely on.
So we have to get a grapple on our priorities to.
Thank you. Thank you, Councillor Matlow.
Anyone else wishing to speak? Seeing none, I’ll take a quick moment.
I do have a motion. It’s a precise one that speaks to the consolidated
financial statements we have before us today. Thank you to everybody who worked on this.
I want to specifically thank our speaker for coming today.
I think it’s a fairly significant subject and I think you sparked some interest and
some conversation about that. I know that it is covered in Councillor Matlow’s
motion about looking at best practices. I think this will go on for a little while.
I also wanted to make the point to look at the open data.
This came from a PhD researcher who spoke to me earlier this week about understanding
the city’s finances and budgeting processes. She pointed out there’s a ton of data including
financial data but for some reasonable — reason the financial statements are not there yet.
I thanked her. I had a quick conversation with staff.
I know there’s a process around qualifying something for open data.
I ask that we embark on that process and give consideration to these consolidated statements
and hopefully we can get the ball rolling on that.
I’ll take a time to make a special note. I did have an opportunity to talk to the CFO
about the inclusion of greenhouse gas reductions into the consolidated financial statements.
I understand there’s a lot of change going on in the world.
I understand that we are leaders on this front. I think the City of Toronto should be proud
of that, that we’re beginning to include this type of information into our statements and
put it out there in public. I think it’s worth noting in wrapping up this
item. So without further adieu I’ll ask that we
vote on the two amendments before us. First is Councillor Matlow’s.
All those in favour? That is carried.
The second is mine about the open data. All those in favour?
That is carried. And the item as amended?
All those in favour? That is carried.
Thank you. We’re going to go to item 3.6.
Which was held by Councillor Filion. I’ll just get the title of it here.
You to general’s 2019 status report of outstanding audit recommendations for city agencies and
corporations. Councillor Filion.
So I held it for a couple of reasons. First is I assume someone needs to move — I
didn’t know if the recommendations in the auditor general’s attachment got moved or
if it has to be held in order to move them. So in any case I will move them.
I guess a question of the auditor general regarding the TTC.
We have large number of outstanding recommendations and I did not frankly try to wade through
them all, especially in light of your recommendations that this be forwarded to the audit and risk
management committee of the TTC. So it’s just a question about our responsibility
as the Audit Committee when recommendations aren’t implemented versus the TTC and its
committee. Like who should be doing that work?
So it really should be the agency or cooperation, the TTC Audit Committee that should be monitoring
the implementation of the recommendations. There’s also a role of oversight when they
are not getting done. Ultimately it is the city who will pay where
— if there’s money that can be saved. You have to continue to fund.
So there’s an oversight role. In relation to the Audit Committee the Audit
Committee was concerned about the procurement items and there are many that have been outstanding
for two years. There’s the potential for high savings that
have been independently verified. So the Audit Committee asked for a timeline
for TTC to be making sure those recommendations are implemented.
So the Audit Committee recognized that it’s the importance of the role and still concerning
that we have 53 items outstanding, really the only agency corporation that hasn’t really
moved along on all fronts. So would a reasonable approach be to refer
it to their audit and risk management committee but you would continue to report to us on
whether or not these recommendations are implemented and at some point if we think we need to draw
it to council’s attention that they’re not being implemented we would do so?
100%. You may even want to have an update in October
as you move into budget discussions whether some of these that have some savings attached
to them have been implemented, especially around the procurement items which have some
savings. So you may want an update for October when
I come back here. Sure.
Should that be added to the recommendation that’s in the attachment or a separate recommendation?
You might need a second recommendation. I conferred with the clerk.
We need to — well, the recommendation is that we forward this to City Council for receipt.
So if we wanted to prepare additional instructions we would have to take a motion for that to
ask the auditor general to come back and report on a different time cycle.
The ag will report on outstanding items. If we wanted to move that bar up to October
so we could deal with it quicker and bring more specifications — specifics to council’s
attention we would have to do that. If it works for you, we can stand the item
down and we can do that. Did you have other questions?
No. If we’re doing that I didn’t want to take
up a lot of time today because I haven’t gone through this in any detail because it’s going
elsewhere. Yes, I would like to make that motion.
The attachments are the attachments. We’ve just simply sending the report with
information on what those items are to City Council otherwise.
So there wasn’t a second disposition of the attachments to it.
So, yeah. So does the recommendation in the attachment
need to be moved? It doesn’t?
It just happens? Right.
They were previous recommendations. Okay.
Okay. So we can stand that down for a minute.
It’s dated May 15th. We can stand that down for a minute if the
committee is okay with that. The next item on the list is yours as well.
Sorry, the staff is still here for the agency. Councillor Nunziata, what was your question?
I think we should deal with them now because we’re close to your motion for a request for
a staff report back. Go ahead.
So I’m really concerned about the outstanding recommendations.
A lot of them are quite old. So with the TTC the — what we came forward
during the budget and I believe a couple of months ago what the Audit Committee, that
audit that you’re doing with TTC, that part of the outstanding recommendations?
It really concerns me that we’re finding these efficiencies and they are not being implemented.
Can we — how can we force them to implement these recommendations or who has the authority
to do that? Thank you.
So we’ve got a couple of questions in there. So the first thing is, when an audit is just
completed, like the fair evasion, we don’t do a follow up on that until a little later.
What I can say is they are moving forward on that report.
That’s a more recent report and they are moving forward on that report.
The report that I was referring to was the one about cores procurement and there’s quite
a lot of money. It was about two years ago that report seemed
to kind of still a bit the recommendations there.
The Audit Committee has asked them for a timeline but I think it’s important that the message
be sent that it’s important because of the savings potential to move that along because
you’re in a situation where you may need to make sure that those moneys are in there.
So how can we — it seems like they’re not implementing those recommendations.
What can we do like to force them to do it? Like do these reports come through the TTC
commission? Like it really concerns me that we find these
efficiencies, there are recommendations and they’re not being implemented.
So there’s no savings. Like how can we force this to happen?
So it goes through the TTC Audit Committee and then to their board and then it comes
here. So if management is here I mean I — maybe
the clerk can tell you what to do. What’s the point of finding these efficiencies
if they are not being implemented? It’s council’s role to hold management to
account. So if management is here.
Is TTC management here? I’m an audit manager.
We’ve expanded to the audit risk and compliance department.
Historically we have not had a huge role to play in ensuring that management has specific
action plans and deliverables around the AG’s recommendations.
I think that with added resources and the expansion of or department we can play a larger
role in ensuring that management comes to the table and making continue progress on
these recommendations. On August 6th we have a three-hour session
with our executive management to review just this, materials management and progress on
cores. So I think that’s a definite positive improvement.
I think that we should note that a lot of progress has been made on these audit recommendations
and the ag unfortunately only reports things as being fully implemented.
But if we look to some of the materials management improvements we can see that there has been
a $3.69 million savings in the year alone from certain improvements.
Can I call on tera. You were at the management meeting.
What was the comment on the management procurement recommendations?
Who is talking? Who is talking?
I’m sorry. It’s the — hi.
I’m here on behalf of — I just hear voices. I don’t know where they are coming from.
That happens. So when we go through our next budget cycle
I’m going to see on TTC that we’ve actually — there has been revenue and that we’ve actually
saved money? Like we found efficiencies?
I don’t have to ask that when we go through the budget process?
I’ll have a line item on the savings? So that’s the question for us.
We will put the line item in. It’s management’s responsibility to make sure
that they implement the savings and — could I ask tera at the meeting to comment on the
progress on these recommendations and what was the comment from the CFO?
So at the time of the meeting there was a comment that there had not been the time to
address them and there had also been a change in staff.
I believe there’s another TTC management here that has been making some progress since the
time of that meeting. I don’t know if they want to speak to it.
So we were getting conflicted — it wasn’t really moving along.
It’s moving along now. It’s great to see.
So I’m looking forward to those line items. Thank you.
Thank you Councillor Nunziata. Any other questions?
I understand Councillor Filion your motion is ready so we can go to speakers on this
item. Yeah.
Well, I think it’s sort of self-explanatory. I think it’s a good idea to have this when
we’re talking about large amounts of money and potential savings.
So we should be keeping an eye on it. So report back in October would be prudent.
Very good. All those in favour of the amendment?
Any opposed? That’s carried.
And an the item as amended? All those in favour?
Any opposed? That is carried.
We’re now at AU3.10. Auditor general’s 2019 status report on outstanding
audit recommendations for city divisions in infrastructure and development services.
Councillor Filion, you held this item. Thank you.
So a couple of things. So I had some difficulty following the chart.
So I couldn’t figure out what the discrepancy from one chart to another and what the dates
were like on — like in table one, for example, it’s that status of outstanding recommendations
as of December 31st, 2017. Then under that results of 2019 follow up.
And then, you know, table two. So I’m not — it looks like there is a large
number of ml and s outstanding items. It sort of depends what chart you look at
or the pie chart. I had trouble following that.
So I’ll give you a quick explanation. What we do is we give the opportunity to implement.
So we say for the reports that are outstanding at the end of 2017 we list a number of recommendations,
what was outstanding and of the ones that were outstanding at the end of March 2017
how many have been implemented, how many are still outstanding and how many are no longer
applicable because maybe they changed the business practice and we have determined that
it’s no longer applicable. So that’s — and yes you are correct, there
are municipal licensing standards, there are a number that like — like 12 that will not
fully implemented. So there are older ones from before December
2017. So through the chair I can speak to the MLS
ones. Certainly there is one back from I think 2013
that is outstanding but the balance is actually coming from an audit report that was done
in October of 2017 that was focused on a couple of sections of chapter 545 dealing with holistic
and body ware parlors that were responded to in part as far as the bylaw goes recently
at GGLC and then returned to staff. So just to follow up on that, I understand
we’re dealing with the wholstics hopefully. So if you remove those, how many are outstanding?
So through the chair, there was a part two to that audit from October of 2017 that also
dealt with eating establishments and nightclubs and it looks like there may be three outstanding
in that regard. There is one from a far earlier audit dealing
with investigation services over all. Some of which is relying on some technology
changes hopefully for case management. I think that covers them all.
Yeah, there’s not a lot. Okay.
And then just — I guess questions of the auditor general on the high priority outstanding
recommendations. I guess this is a question of you Mr. Chair
as well. Because we’re kind of feeling our way through
this process. I think it is an important function that we’re
doing to go back and look at what hasn’t been done.
But it really is hard slogging to go through all of this and try to figure out the status
of all the recommendations. So I appreciate the high priority ones to
focus on. I want guess then a question of the you to
general, which of these might we want to delve into further, should we delve into all of
them further? Certainly — or are you leaving it up to us,
which is fine as well? I know which ones I would tend to pick out
more. Just your thoughts on if we had to — if we
wanted to do two of these per agenda, I don’t know we can do more than that, which two would
you pick? Well, I would pick — the two that are on
page 7. So you will see we star them.
We star them because they were picked out on the items of greatest concern report.
They are still outstanding. In this case they are both old and there’s
potential assets or money or things to come to the city.
So the first one relates to section 37, it’s from 2011 and it’s to make sure that whatever
we were promised in section 37 be it cash, parks, buildings, services we actually receive
that. That all has a value.
That’s been outstanding since 2011. And then 2012 the building permit fees, improving
the controls and reporting to make sure all the fees are in place.
Appreciating that will jonsson is just fairly new to the building portfolio as the chief
building officer but I certainly think that we star them as high priority.
They are still here and older. I think they may be ones you want to pack
more at a future session. Sorry through the chair, I can advise on the
city planning outstanding item. It will be coming to committee in September.
Councillor Filion, I guess you asked questions of the chair and I’ll offer the following
comment. I think duly noted by the chair and members
of the committee there’s a growing interest in dealing with outstanding audit items and
that’s shown up in the comments and the motions that el faro — that we’ve seen over the last
couple of meetings. There’s a role of the auditor general to follow
up and report on outstanding audit items. That’s an important process and we see them
rotate through the divisions and come into this meeting.
We also see an annual report on that. The auditor general doesn’t control the implementation
and completion of those items. The auditor can only assess whether they have
been done and bring them to our attention. I’m going to speak on this item with a motion
because I think one thing that’s missing is our request of management to report back to
us on the progress on these items. I think that there’s value in turning our
eyes towards the management with some request on more detail on how they are working through
them and also requests on the timelines. The timelines is the piece that the auditor
general doesn’t evaluate. The auditor only comments on the information
she gets. Hopefully that’s helpful and sort of spells
out where I think we’re going to head with this item in a moment.
Did you have any other questions Councillor Filion?
I don’t think so. Any other members of the committee with questions
of staff? Seeing none, any members of the committee
wishing to speak to the item? Councillor Filion?
I haven’t seen your motion but I’m going that I will like it?
I hope so. Fingers crossed.
Okay. I guess procedure — I was going to move — given
that there’s going to be a report to planning in September I was going to skip one and I
was going to ask that we here delve more into two and three at our October meeting.
So that is not in conflict with your motion I assume, right?
May vary the procedure a little bit and interject. That’s entirely in order.
We’ve done that at the committee before, asked for specific reports on particular items.
I’ll point out on this agenda there’s specific reports from management opposed to auditor
general on the status of outstanding items in here.
They were very precise. So I will move then that — I’m not sure.
Does clerks want to work out the — suggest the appropriate wording?
Toronto building division, building permit fees and Toronto building improving the quality
of building inspections. So one department with two parts.
I’m assuming that it’s a bit early for paving contracts or is it?
I’m actually hoping to have an update. I’m pleased with the movement on that.
Sure. Building department then.
All right. I know the clerks are going to work on those
motions as quickly as possible. So I’ll take a chance to move my motion as
well and get that on to the floor. Depending on how long this takes we may need
to just hold the item. As fast as they can type.
Did you want to speak to the item Councillor Matlow and see if we can keep the agenda moving.
I was going to commend most of — completely support both of your motions.
I’ve had the same experience even going before our current AG’s predecessor’s time where
it would be this big report and often, you know, controversial and — but important revelations
and then we would make our big speeches and move our big motions and there would be big
media reports on it and it would be a thing and then immediately management would say
we absolutely accept every one of the recommendations, we are on this, we are completely responsible,
everything is doing to be great. Then, you know, the way our attention spans
and our city works we get on to the next big controversial issue and then all the attention
is on that. I have never any idea really what actually
happened. You know, so I think chair Holyday’s motion
is correct that it’s not really our AG’s responsibility to kind of go become and say, hey, did you
read my report? Did you act on my report?
What about my report? We’re the ones who hold our staff accountable
and ask them what they did and if they did it.
I think this is really important that we not only do our follow up, our accountability
actions but also set clear timelines for when we expect for that information to come forward.
Now by the way just eluding to the other item that we’re with drawing today, it’s always
helpful for us that whenever we ask staff or an idndependent accountability officer,
anyone for, you know, timed items, items to come at certain months or whatever that if
they are not going to come that we be told that it won’t and why.
Or else these things seem to fizzle away and then it’s only if we stumble upon it or get
reminded of it or if the issue comes up in the media again and we’re like what became
of that, that’s not how this should work. There should be systems so if we’re — like
if we’re asking our staff to tell us at a certain date what have you done that it really
be done in April if we say April and if it’s in may then it comes in May.
If they don’t have time to do it or they have other reasons why it can’t come at that certain
time they should come and say, you know, we really are working on this but there’s work
that has to get done and we would like a couple more months and that’s fair, that’s reasonable.
Well, I think we’re getting close. I see the motions being brought over.
So I wondered if I could get my motion onto the screen and give me a moment to speak.
So I’ll just state my motion. We’re going to ask the city manager to report
back to the next audit meeting, October 25th, 2019, on a process to track and report on
a quarterly basis, progress on management’s implementation and their target completion
date of outstanding audit recommendations with particular emphasis on those that the
auditor general has identified as items of greatest concern.
I want to differentiate, take a moment — I’ll start out by saying, you know, given that
it’s a very aggressive reporting date on this process, October, you know, it should signal
that this isn’t my idea. I know that management has been thinking about
this on how they track and deal with the really long list of outstanding matters and where
they are in the continuum of it being implemented. It’s very complicated.
I also am aware as a member of the committee that there is this growing interest and it’s
being shown through the motions and through the conversation that we’ve had at this table
and I want to differentiate the request of management from what the auditor general does.
I mentioned it briefly in my comments. The auditor general comes back and looks at
the implementation of these items and verifying — verifies them and puts them into the report.
She will look at whether or not an item endorsed by council and put forth to management is
applicable. Those reports will continue to go through.
They are regular. We get the master report once a year but we
also get an examination, a deeper examination, the various components of the city meeting
after meeting. Included in that is a discharge of those particular
items that council has asked management to do but have found, you know, they just don’t
matter anymore because things have changed. Through the adoption of council those are
brought off the table but what we assume to be missing in this process because of the
additional interest is the focus on the progress being made by the management team and the
divisions of implement things before they reach the auditor general.
It takes some time to reach the auditor general and go through the process to be verified.
So I think this committee wants to be closer to the latest information on this and the
other piece that is really important in here is that we are looking at the dates.
At some point management and it’s likely in the original finding will set a date and a
target for the execution of that recommendation. But if you look at some of the reports you
find those dates tend to move over time. You know, there’s really good reason for that.
You know, management are often doing their best to implement these things.
I think it’s a fair question of the committee on behalf of council why did it change.
Are we happy with that change, do we accept it.
So this report and this process will help us do that.
So I realize it’s going to be a very busy month in October based upon the motions that
we put forward. This will be more reading for the committee
members. I think there’s interest there.
I hope that you support this motion and find it helpful. I also hope staff doesn’t find
it too burdensome because I know that they’re already doing this process.
We’re just asking for the report on top of it.
So with that we’ll go back to Councillor Filion who also had some motions we wanted to put
out there to wrap up this item. Councillor Filion.
Just two of the items that the auditor general highlighted both of which relate to the building
department. Thank you.
On Councillor Filion amendment all those in favour?
Opposed? That’s carried.
On my amendment, all in favour? Opposed?
That’s carried. On the amended item, all those in favour?
Opposed? That’s carried.
Next item is AU3.12, establishment of the city’s cyber security program to enable vulnerability,
assessment and penetration testing. Councillor Filion.
So 12 and 12a? Yeah.
The recommendations in 12a I would need to move those.
So I will move those. No, sorry.
I’m asking questions. You’re at questions.
Yes. So a question of staff and I’ll preface this
by saying when I took the rockman director’s course last year which I would recommend to
anybody who has not taken it, they spent a very large amount of the course time on cyber
security threats and said this is one of the most important oversight roles for any board
of directors. It’s absolutely essential and critical and
you all need to absolutely make sure that you’re organization is 100% on top of this.
So questions of staff. I’m not sure who, where.
On a scale of 1 to 10 how fully prepared is our organization?
Yeah, through the chair, Councillor Filion, I’m behind you.
It’s grant coffee from int. So on a scale of 1 to 10 we are between a
7 and an 8. There’s certainly activities and things on
going and as articulated in the report and it will continue to evolve.
How soon will it take us to — I assume we want to reach 10.
How long would it take us to get there? To get to a 10 I’m not sure I could actually
articulate a firm timeline. However, there are some key activities as
articulated in the report in particular moving to a managed security provider that will be
in place by early 2020. That will be a big step in our maturity in
terms of being proactively prepared for the future.
So I think that will get us above an 8. I think we’ll continue to work with the auditor
general and on our program to ensure it has the right scope and oversight to get to a
10. So I have — if one had concerns that that
wasn’t good enough, what additional steps would need to be taken?
We would certainly open to having a conversation further with yourself Councillor Filion or
with any other Councillors with regards to that.
We are continuing to evolve our cyber security plan and how that fits sgoo — into the broader
context, managing and delivering I.t. Services and managing risk and content as well.
So it’s part of a broader picture. So we had an audit recommendation in 2016,
so it’s more than three years later. I don’t know where you would have estimated
the number back in 2016. It seems based on the amount of time to get
us to a 7 or an 8 it would appear that there’s not a sense of urgency about this.
Through the chair, I can reiterate that this is one of the top priorities for the information
technology division. So we see it as an important matter and are
focused on achieving results to get better. I see in the report there was a request for
a proposal issued May 15th. How long had that been in the works for prior
to being issued? So we started working on that version of that
proposal earlier this year. So really it was in the working for four to
five months. The original — some of that work did commence
last year as well. We changed our approach to the procurement
earlier this year to try to expedite and get a solution that will actually allow us a little
bit more flexibility and latitude in terms of longer term needs.
I don’t have much time left. Question of the auditor general.
When was it that you kind of went in and tested how easy it would be to break into our system?
I believe it was back in 2016, March 2016. I’ll have to see.
But it was a while back. It was one of the first projects that I worked
on. It started in December 2015 and then we continued
in 2016. Correct.
We briefed the entire way through. Yes, yes, yes.
And do we have any reason to think that still couldn’t happen?
Until management can provide the assurance that they are ready, the answer is yes.
We will be doing our testing. We’re starting now to get our work together.
We hope to report out in October to convey where we think whether we’re 7 or 8 and whether
we’ve moved along since then. This was the number one issue for me when
the new city manager came in. It’s been outstanding for a while.
You’ve seen the video. I’ll give Councillor Ford an opportunity to
ask questions on this. You indicated an interest.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I think that Councillor Filion had really
good questions and answered a lot of what I had.
I had notes throughout this. So your recommendation in terms of cyber security
awareness and training will that be mandatory for all City of Toronto staff?
So the cyber security awareness and training at the stage has not been rolled out as mandatory.
It can be considered for mandatory. So the intent is to have regular training
for all staff available and then there are other components in the training and awareness
program. Would it be staff’s recommendation to make
that training mandatory as it is such a significant modern day concern?
So we would support a recommendation to make that training mandatory.
So I will write up that motion in the meantime. But moving on — so what are — we aren’t
the only city, there’s cities around the world who are grappling with these issues and other
governments as businesses. Are we looking at best practices in the sector
and what other governments are doing to protect their own infrastructure?
Sure. So through the chair, yes, we are.
So one of the activities that’s highlighted in the report is a cyber security maturity
assessment. That’s an independent assessment being done
by KPMG based on an internationally cyber security frame work to give us an understanding
of where we sit security wise along elements. Part of that is looking at other jurisdictions
and how they address similar matters. And my last question, one of the recommendations
in the previous report was to create the chief information security officer, is that you,
sir? No.
Just to clarify for the committee, through the chair, I’m not the chief information security
officer. That position is actually in recruitment right
now. Okay.
When do we see that person to be brought on board?
We are targeting now that person brought on board this summer.
Later on this summer. What’s their reporting structure?
So the chief information security will report to the chief information officer and then
the city manager. So if I could just respond Councillor Ford,
through the chair, we will be working through that diligently as quickly as we can.
The individual needs to be in here as soon as possible, we understand that.
So I’ll be part of the process for the individual to be here within the next month or so.
We’re going through the process with the recruitment firm right now.
Thank you very much. Any other questions?
I’m going to ask a couple. Great.
Thank you. To you Madame Auditor, I’m going to try to
summarize my memory without drifting into the details that you might have reported on
or would have been in the confidential attachments. With I.t. Systems and security there’s three
kind of components. There is the design and the architecture of how things are set up
and configured, there are tools and assets and functions, you know, antivirus ware might
be one of them. The third is the human side and human behaviour.
Can somebody talk somebody to giving out their password and all the sudden never mind the
design of the system and the tools you have in place, you have a bad person in on the
system using human intervention. Would that be sort of correct that those are
the kind of — the basic parts? That is correct.
I think over to Mr. Coffee in I.t., I wondered if you could provide further comment on what
Councillor Ford was looking at, the human side of things.
In the report and somewhere else we learn there’s tools and training going onto try
to educate people about this and we’ve got some questions about where and when people
are learning that. In general I mean this is not a new concept
and they’re not specific to the City of Toronto. Could you give some comment on, you know,
how much of a barrier it is to do more on that front?
Can you get prepackaged training, can you get videos easily?
Can you find systems? Surely we’re not reinventing the wheel.
Do you see this as a very difficult thing to try to advance given some of the concern
brought forward by the committee? Yes.
Through the chair, so one of the main — one of the biggest risk elements associated with
cyber security is people within the organization and a lot of it is actually innocent in the
context of people not realizing maybe if they open a particular e-mail and click on a link
they are going to cause some kind of an outcome that they don’t want.
So in terms of the barriers to awareness, if program that I talked about and is ash
— articulate in the report, it’s part of the city’s e learning system.
It’s not something that the city is developing the content for.
We’re acquiring it through a service to give us an going evolution of don’t.
The training is all through videos and there’s elements in there so that people can apply
at different levels within the organization as well.
What I mean is some of it would apply to everybody and another would apply to specific areas
and examples even I.t. People who do work in I.t.
So it’s meant to be across the board. It is something that will allow us to continue to
grow as this area potentially gets more complex. The last question, Madame Auditor, would it
be fair to say that in investors in the city, people that buy bonds, that give us credit
rating, that think about the city’s finances and consider the risk profile of the city,
in your opinion is cyber security even though we have to be very careful about the details
that we’re disclosing, cyber security falls into that.
Although there may be costs to deliver training programs the rebut l is the training — rebuttal
is the training is a risk profile of the organization and there’s more savings in the cost of boring
money and the reputational costs towards the city, should there ever be an incident and
at the end of the day we’re investing back into the system and that produces a monetary
savings, would I will correct in my assumption? There’s a lot in there Councillor.
I’ll just answer very basically, you know I.t. Security is fundamental to the profile
of every single organization, every corporation. Management has a plan that they’re executing.
My concern is I think it’s important to do it as quickly as possible.
But to your point, the stronger we are I think the — it has impacts across the board not
only potentially in insurance but also in preventing the impact of an attack.
Thank you. Any other questions on the matter?
Seeing none we’ll go to speakers. Anyone wishing to speak to this item?
Councillor Filion. I don’t have a motion because this is coming
back anyway in October. I am I would say extremely concerned that
I don’t know what number we were at. Obviously it’s over simplified to say where
are we out of 10. I gather we were something pretty low in 2016
when the auditor general was able to get into the system fairly readily.
That we’re somewhere between a 7 and 8 now several years later is not encouraging nor
is it encouraging that we’ll be above 8 in 2020.
You know, I think this requires a lot more sense of an urgency.
As far as motions to deal with this subject, I think I’ll wait until we see where we’re
at in October. I’m greatly concerned.
Just to confirm, Councillor Filion, you want to move the supplemental report and the recommendations
contained in there. Yes.
Thank you. Anyone else?
Councillor Ford, you wanted to speak? Thank you Mr. Chair.
I will be brief.
Do you have a motion? Yes.
A cyber security training that will be mandatory for all city staff.
I think a request is appropriate because the motion was just written in the last 10 minutes.
Of course we want to see how that affects stuff.
So I think the request part would be appropriate here and I would have to say — I would echo
my colleague’s comments. I think this day and age cyber security is a huge concern facing
a number of different organizations, businesses, governments and whatnot.
By no means am I remotely an expert about this.
I think that I share the concern Councillor Filion does and even what prompted my question
was this morning as I came in as I was checking my e-mails I got this weird e-mail and tell
me click here and it was convincing and then I kind of stopped after reading the report.
So I think when you have city infrastructure that you’re dealing with I think we all have
to be very mindful and with — I think it’s 50,000 employees in the City of Toronto I
think that’s something that should probably be brought to everyone’s attention thank you
very much Mr. Chair. Thank you.
Councillor Ford’s amendment. All those in favour?
On the balance of the motions? All those in favour?
Any opposed? That is carried.
We are now onto AU3.12. Pardon me.
We are onto AU3.13. Audit of city cleaning services, outstanding
recommendations of greatest concern. Councillor Ford, you held the item.
Yes. Thank you Mr. Chair.
Let me just get my mind wrapped around where we are here.
Yes, I do have questions of staff. So maybe I’ll just begin.
So how — with this, how we are consolidating — I know we consolidated six separate custodial
contracts into one agreement. I think there’s always talk about how we can
get better value for — you know, on the dollar in certain things.
Are we taking a wholistic approach, not just particularly in the cleaning contracts when
across our city when purchasing and looking at that stuff?
Through the chair, yes, we are. Not just on cleaning contracts.
I can speak in terms of the facilities management or the corporate real us — real estate aspects
of things. We are looking at services procuring services
or goods. One example is a recent contract that we had
awarded with respect to elevating devices, escalators and elevators that incorporated
both city divisions as well as an agency as well, exhibition place.
So we are taking that approach. All right.
Thank you. So in the report recommendation number three
— and this is recommendation number three that has not been done and is to be done,
is that correct? So both recommendation three and nine are
in progress. We have taken action on both.
We are in the process of implementing across our entire portfolio in terms of cob con — contracted
services. We took steps to consolidate six into one
agreement. We’re taking further steps to have one standard agreement across the board.
At that point we feel we would have recommendations fully implemented.
My question on particularly a performance-based cleaning levels within the contract could
you expand on that? So currently we have three separate contracts
and they all have different standards within them.
That’s what we’re trying to align. But in terms of the performance-based we want
to focus on what the outcomes are oppose today the frequency of tasks that are being performed.
Our portfolio is varied depending on the building. We have offices, yards, emergency service
facilities, all requires different levels of service.
We want to focus on the outcome and allow us to better manage and ensure that we get
the outcomes we want. Oh on a frequent base perspective, the vendor
may perform but we may not receive the outcome that we actually want.
So this is where the industry is going and this is where we want to go.
Okay. Excellent.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Councillor.
Councillor Filion. A question around contracts that — I won’t
delve into anything I think shown private. So what are the lengths of our contracts around
these services? So through the chair currently we have — typically
what we’ve done is we’ve had contracts that up to 5 years and could be option years exercised
after the first year at the city’s discretion. In some cases we do have as the elevated device
contract, it is a five year term contract without options.
But of course there are opportunities should issues arise throughout the contract for the
city to end those agreements if we choose. There’s opportunities to do what?
Sorry, to end those agreements if we choose. So we have the ability to end an agreement
early if we want? Each contract would have different terms.
I would say in most contracts generally speaking there’s language that would allow that.
Is there language that would allow us to amend a contract?
I’m not sure. I don’t want to speak.
Yes. Sorry.
I’ll sort of cut to the Chase. That I’m trying to get to is sense July 2016
how many contracts have come up for renewal and if they haven’t come up for renewal would
there have been a way of implementing these changes in any event by mutual agreement or
some such? So through the chair, I believe on the two
contracts we have extended renewals. So we had focused our efforts on combining
those six contracts into one. That took us through into 2017.
We have extended the other two contracts from a resource perspective to centralize some
quality assurance and contract manager practices. We were focusing on that, focusing on delivering
the one contract we had issued to make sure that it is managed properly.
Now we’re at the point where we’re ready to try and combine all contracts under one agreement.
So in reading your report it makes it sound like well, we couldn’t implement all this
because of the contracts but I’m not at all clear on that.
It sounds like you had opportunities to change them.
You had opportunities to implement — it wasn’t — it wasn’t contractual constraints that
has caused you not to implement the recommendations, would that be correct?
I would say yes, it’s both resource-based and contractual based.
And explain the — I think we dealt with the contract based.
So you could is made the changes, it wasn’t the contracts that stopped you because they
have either been renewed or you could have done something else.
So I think we covered that unless I misunderstood it.
So what’s the resource issue? So bringing the right resources to centrally
manage these contracts it would be quite large. To change them all at once would be quite
a task. We have engagements with divisions.
We would have to work through those in terms of changing the standard level of service
that’s been provided from what they are receiving to what they would be receiving.
So we have to consider that when we look at, you know rs — you know, amending or contracts.
That could be significantly different. So could you quantify those resources in salaries
or outside resources, whatever to — if it’s resources that’s holding you up what resources
and what would they — what’s their value? So we were making changes within the division
to centralize some of the functions such as contract management, quality assurance, things
of that nature. So over the past couple of years we have created
some new roles. We are in the process of hiring some of those
new roles. At the same time working on ensuring that
the larger contract that we entered into is being managed accordingly.
Now planning on a new call to market as we state in the report to consolidate all into
one. We’re at time and that really doesn’t answer
my question. I’m looking for a number of people or dollar
amount that I want to compare that to the savings.
Perhaps I can do with a second round. Anyone else wishing to ask questions on this?
What I’m trying to get to is the cost — the resource cost of making the changes versing
the savings resulting from the changes. So if you are spend — you know, if you can
spend $5 to create annual savings of $10 it makes no sense that you wouldn’t spend the
$5 as soon as you can. I don’t know what the ratios are here.
That’s what I’m trying to get at. If someone could answer.
Through the chair, I mean, I don’t have that with me right now.
We could work on that and provide that to you.
Okay. So I’m just seeing.
Do you want to do a second round or carry straight through?
If there’s someone else I recommend them taking a crack at it.
Councillor Nunziata you wanted do ask some questions and make we can come back.
I heard the contracts are for five years, correct?
Through the chair, each contract would be different.
We would have option to go as long as five years in some cases and in some cases they
are five-year terms. So there’s — when Councillor Filion was asking
questions so there’s a clause in the contract that within the five years if we have an issue
or a performance issue that we can terminate the contract?
Through the chair, yes, there would be language in the contract if there was a performance
issue that we could note the contractor in default and terminate the contract.
Without a penalty? Through the chair in consultation with legal
to ensure that we’re protecting the city’s interest.
Okay. So just on recommendation nine about controls
to monitor actual service delivered in hours provided are in accordance with contract.
Explain that. Recommendation nine.
Through the chair, that recommendation was given from the auditor general through the
audit process. I believe it was in relation to some work
that they had done to test to compare hours that were paid for on an invoice verses actual
hours received. I’ll welcome the AG’s office if they want
to add or elaborate on that at all. So through the chair, the original recommendation
for that audit and that recommendation was because when we were trying to go back to
source documents of hours spent to clean it didn’t match the hours that we’re being charged.
So they were working less hours than what they were getting paid for?
Yes, that’s correct. Yes, that’s correct.
But who monitors that? Like why would it be part of the auditor general’s
recommendation? Was that not monitored, you know, through
the contract? Did you want management to talk about their
process or did you want the comment from the auditor’s office?
Just want to get the right person to answer the question.
Well, whoever wants to answer the question. We’ll take comment from either about who monitors
the accuracy of the hours. So I can start from management’s perspective.
I think we acknowledge the AG’s finding, the AG’s office’s findings in that case.
We do obviously ensure and validate the work performed verses what we’re paying for.
In some cases in this particular case there were hours that could not be verified and
some of the steps that we’ve taken today as note in the report is to ensure stronger language
in terms of the city’s ability to obtain supporting information that would justify the hours billed
and we’ve realized that on our latest contract and we’ll continue to strengthen those controls
through the contract and through our oversight to ensure that we are paying for what we are
getting. Okay.
I guess we can go back to the tree pruning, right?
Councillor Filion, did you want to do additional questions a second round?
I have a motion. So we’ll go to speaking?
Yes. The staff are still doing it.
Any other members of council wanted to ask questions on this item?
I guess I can speak while the motion is being prepared if you would like.
The clerk needs about two minutes to type that up.
If it’s all right we’ll go with the speaking and then we’ll have the motion on the screen.
Thank you. So I guess I’m not satisfied with the answers
or I think there’s really a lack of any kind of detail or proper explanation on why this
has not been done or when it will be done and I think we — I’m really glad that this
one came forward and I think we need to look at it again.
So I have a motion that this come back to the next meeting and I’m asking for a whole
lot of additional detail that would either substantiate good reasons why these recommendations
haven’t been implemented or if there isn’t a good reason we would see that and I guess
most importantly have a plan to get these recommendations implemented as soon as possible
because if it doesn’t — the two reasons given were oh, it’s the contracts which turns out
to not be the case but, again, that’s my impression, I don’t — you know, I don’t — can’t substantiate
that because I don’t have the details. Or it’s lack of resources in which case what
resources exactly, how much would those resources cost and compare the cost of those resources
to the potential savings. We have this report that we haven’t realized
the savings that would have been available. I’m also asking the auditor general to comment
further if she wishes. So I know the clerk is just trying to get
this one right. I think it’s best we just stand it down, go
to the next item. Anyone else wishing to speak on the item?
Sorry Councillor Ford was that a nod? So I think it will go pretty quick once we
come back to it. I think we just want to get the wording right
of the motion. So with that we’ll stand that down and go
to the next audit item, which is AU3.14, opening doors to stable housing and effective wait
list and reduced vacancy rates will help more people access housing.
I do know we have a presentation but we also have a speaker.
Generally the order will be the speaker to go first.
Clerk is reminding me it’s the speaker first. So if I can ask Mark Richardson to come to
the front. You have some technical help there.
Councillors, thank you for your time today. I’m Mark Richardson from housing now ta.
We are an open tech data advocacy organization. We have been focused on getting better data,
better information, better clarity, particularly the affordable housing.
We end — encourage you to visit our website. Today we’re here to talk about the challenges
with the TCHC wait list. We have pulled together data from all sources
including some from TCHC. We had to cleanse all kinds of data.
We had to work to create our interactive google map tool.
It’s been launched since January of this year when you adopted housing now.
We managed to put up that site in January in six weeks.
It cost us $300 and 30 hours of volunteer time. Since January we had 14,000 visits to
the site. The official create T.O. Site around your
housing now proposal was launched two weeks ago.
This is why you need to open some of these city hall problems up to the public, to the
civic tech community to get them fixed. First thank you to the auditor general’s team.
They do a fantastic job of taking the stuff of the way the city operates under the ever
cover — under the covers and up to the surface. The presentation is really, really good.
The video is good. I’m a data visualization guy in my professional
life. They have some great data visualizations.
We have to communicate the problem offence the — problems of the city to a grade 4,
5 or 6 student doing their social studies home work.
If we can’t explain it to them, we can’t explain it to them.
A 40 to 50 page black and white staff report with no pictures, no charts, no graphs is
absolutely useless to fixing this city. Specific to the TCHC staff report, we started
asking about the data quality, data metrics, client relationship management of the TCHC
housing connections wait list in 2014. We were brushed off, blown off, certain Councillors
told us we shouldn’t even be asking that question because it was important to have the 100,000
wait list number when we go asking the province for money.
If we don’t know what the problem is, we can’t fix it.
This was a TCHC staff report in 2017 that talked about their wait list at the time.
Offers were then made to the applicants on the wait list.
There were 19,000 offers made in 2016. 14,000 of those were with drawn because the
applicant could not be contacted. That was 70 some percent garbage data.
We on the outside knew that and tried to express that up through the chain of command here
in 2016, 2017 by just reading your staff reports. We shouldn’t be here in 2019 waiting for an
auditor’s report. The response you had to this report was to
send it away for another staff report. Like put a bullet in this stuff and fix the
problem. I got a minute and 10 seconds left.
How do we fix the problem? There are organizations like ours, housing
now T.O., civic tech T.O., like civic hall, like tech T.O. Which meets every month.
Open up this problem. This is not rocket science.
People are doing contact management, they are doing heart beat checks on their clients.
This is a success factor — a hybrid solution from sap. It’s a salesforce solution from
salesforce. The technology exists.
We’re trying to run one of the most critical systems in our city which is horribly underfunded
in your budgets because TCHC wait list is terribly funded, no one has ever put any money
into fixing it and we’ve now reached the point where we’ve got I think from the auditor’s
report 50 some percent garbage data or questionable data that has not been validated in over 2
years. I could stay here and talk some more.
Hopefully you have some questions for me. This is not an impossible fix.
It is impossible if we keep acting like it’s 1974 around here.
That’s my time. Thank you very much.
Are there questions of the speaker? I’m going to ask you some questions then.
I know Councillor Matlow will probably get to some questions because he’s working on
them now. I’m wearing my City of Toronto up data button.
That’s from I’m going with it. I love your motions from yourself and Mr.
Matlow this morning on the financial statements. Thank you.
So the question I have for you is, you know, we do these hackathons, there’s neat things
going on from an innovation perspective. How do we traverse the difficulty in this
case where you have really, really personal information in these waiting lists?
Are there easy mechanisms to try to cleanse that?
What I was thinking about the other day when I was exploring this report is could we attach
a key to the generic records and then have that key somewhere else that could hold the
private data? It doesn’t need to go block chain.
It didn’t need to be that fancy. We can scramble the names, birth dates and
current contact information of people as long as we can unscramble them when you get that
data back. You know about the phoenix payroll system
in Ottawa. That’s personal information.
It’s person’s social security numbers, payroll and people that federal civil servants carrying
about their paychecks. It got screwed up because of data quality.
People on the TCHC wait list we don’t care about as much so we don’t invest in it.
At the phoenix example at treasury board, they went out to vendors and signed non-disclosure
agreements and rather than coming up with the newest requirements going out to the market,
they go with a problem and they say, let’s do a bake off.
We’ll prequalify six or seven organizations who will be prequalified to come back to us
with a solution of data quality for this wait list.
The auditor can set whatever the targets are for what is an acceptable failure list.
That’s the entire procurement system. We’re still trying to buy software and technology.
Like the Russian train schedule of 1974. The fundamental way you operate as a city
has to change. You had a chief transformation officer.
What did he do in two years on the TCHC wait list?
You’ve got an innovation office downstairs with a half a million bucks a year from Bloomberg.
Why weren’t they pointed at the TCHC wait list?
This is a fixable problem if you change the way you deal with problems around here.
So there’s a couple of vectors or tentacles on this.
One you touched on around innovation and assuming the data is okay how you work — never assume
the data is okay. You take that data and look at it in different
ways, visualize it, look at different relationships and do innovative things because you have
an opportunity to take it to innovators. So that’s one.
My assumption is there’s lots of opportunity to go down that path, lots of different models.
Then there’s the other tentacle of you’ve got to go out and validate the data, the raw
list there’s 105,000 or 107,000 doing by memory lines on there.
Part of that is going to be physical work. You have to contact the work.
Any thoughts on how to cross that physical work bridge?
This may be totally — somebody in the staff can tell me whether this is true or not.
In the current housing connections database it’s our understanding based on information
that we’ve been provided that there’s still a column active and populated for pager number.
We need to — I’m not saying burn this thing to the ground.
We kind of need to burn it to the ground and start over again.
If we want to find out where people are who need the housing, why can’t we have their
Facebook account in there? If they change address or change phone their
Facebook account sticks around. I know there’s people all over the city who
just freak out about that suggestion because it’s some American company.
We can talk to people who are in the contact relationship management business, social connections,
there are people who — I volunteer out of the cold.
There are homeless guests who come to our out of the cold who tweet their thanks to
us, who post on Facebook to say thank you for giving us a place last night.
One last one because I have 3 seconds left. Do you think there’s agencies out there that
could help us validate the list? As radical as it sounds and as ironic as it
sounds a collection management company that’s in the business of finding people, do you
think there’s ways to do it? There’s agencies but in the revenue generating
business. You need to crowd source it.
When you released the garbage app, the waste wizards, I’ve never seen so many ads on TTC
stations, ads on tv. If people are more efficient with garbage
collection you save money. What’s the return on investment to fix this
wait list? You call 19,000 people, 14,000 of them didn’t
answer the phone. How many staff member days got burned calling
wrong numbers? Like there’s — Toronto has never missed an
opportunity to miss an opportunity. This is landed in your lap.
It’s a contact list with some control parameters around it.
We’re not trying to figure out the Apollo landings here.
This is so, so simple. You need to fundamentally change the way your
I.t. Folks deal with the civic tech world. You need to change the way your procurement
folks deal with procurement. You need to put a gentle collar around your
privacy lawyers who still aren’t very flexible on civic tech.
We can fix this problem, we’re happy to help. Like I said, we’re cheap as chips.
So please give us an opportunity to do some good.
Thank you. Councillor Fletcher.
We’ll vary the procedure a little bit there. We’ll be graceful.
We’re nice. You’re a very good chair.
Thank you very much. There’s 106,000 applicants on the wait list
but from what you’re telling us here, being unable to get in touch with people, that might
not be accurate? You have to take that up with the auditor
general. That’s their number, not mine.
You’re paying them, not me. I think my question is, you’re indicating
that there’s issues being in touch with people. I’m not indicating that.
The auditor general’s team is indicating that. Based on the numbers in this report.
This is a TCHC staff report. There’s charts and graphs and all sorts of
information about how bad the contact information is in your current system from the people
you pay to give you this kind of information. That’s why I wanted to speak after the auditor
general because they have got the key points, we were just offering to help.
Councillor Fletcher? Thank you.
I don’t believe that’s what I said but we may have lost something in translation.
We’ll go to Councillor Matlow. I know you wanted to ask some questions of
the speaker. (away from mic) I’m working on a motion.
It looks like that short one got moved by Councillor Holyday I think.
Open the doors. It’s reflective of that kind of idea. Maybe
even a little more — anyway, you will see it in a moment.
This is somewhat rhetorical. Why is it important — you know, we often
find out whether it be through newspaper article or through our ag that something has gone
wrong and things need improvement. Why do you think it’s helpful and important
to have as much data out there in the public domain for people like you and others to review
and comment on so that there’s this constant accountability out there?
Why do you think that’s helpful? I don’t know the quote exactly but I think
it’s the secretary treasurer of the state of Massachusetts and they said something about
a year ago about their open data program is that they — it had change — fundamentally
changed the bay they operated and thought about numbers.
You are not just putting it out there for nerds like me but every university professor.
Our lab course this month at Ryerson can be an exercise in fixing the TCHC wait list.
You can’t — like you can’t hire the kind of talent that is sitting around looking to
do stuff. The Toronto police service and TCHC both had
data analyst positions posted about six months ago.
The position for the police service who is doing an excellent job on their data analytics,
the first year guy just out of university was being paid just under the sunshine list
at $99,000. The TCHC job for a similar set of skills was
a union gig at $33 an hour somewhere near up York University.
You can’t pay for the talent you want. Tropical storm — there’s a lot of talent
all over the place that would spend pro bono hours.
That’s why it’s important. You quadruple the size and you half the age
of your I.t. Department.
Thank you. I’ll just check, any other questions?
Seeing none, thank you very much for joining us.
Thank you. What I will do is welcome the audit team up.
I know there’s a presentation on this particular report.
Thank you chair and Audit Committee. This is one of the most disturbing files I
have ever worked on in my career. The issues are too important, they’re too
easy to fix, Mr. Richardson is not wrong, and the city and TCHC has known for a very
long time, City Council has pointed out through the mayor’s task force and then through follow
up with the mayor and City Council in 2017 again that there were issues.
And I’ve heard it all. I’ve heard we need a system, a system, a system.
People can’t wait for systems. It’s great to continue onto have a system.
We used an excel spreadsheet and some people may find it condescending and say it’s not
as simple as a spreadsheet. You’re correct, it’s not but people can’t
afford to wait. Then I heard about process.
I think if I hear anymore about process and bureaucracy people are not housed, families
are not housed, homeless people have passed away.
It’s so important for me to maintain my independence. This file was very challenging.
The medical officers who are here have reported that good quality housing and stable housing
is key to promoting population health and making sure that there’s no health inequities.
City’s housing opportunities action plan has pointed out the importance of health education.
And the importance of housing in influencing a good start in life.
We are doing a series of projects along the housing continuum to feedback to City Council
what is actually happening because the challenge in getting the data and cleansing the data
and you’ve heard is crazy. The information is not always as it seems.
We have to do a lot of work behind to verify our numbers.
But the projects we started with was first one was moving forward together.
We have this one we thought looking at the wait list the front end after it’s been pointed
out a couple of times that there were issues we thought this would be a very easy one and
I personally thought how hard can a wait list be?
We actually didn’t do the audit in 2015, 2016 because we were relying on the task force
which was the right thing to do, the recommendations that came out of the task force around the
area were sound recommendations then then we’re doing other work in other areas.
As you can see there are other 100,000 applicants, households looking for stable housing.
Each year only 2900 households are successful. To put that in perspective the report pointed
out perhaps 1500. So out of 3,000 successful in obtaining rent
good income housing, we’ve identified for potential about 14 to 1500 more.
That’s even factoring in not having a 0% vacancy. So there’s a lot more room there.
Our audit was looking at making sure there’s timely and equitable access and those in the
greatest need were being efficiency served. We’re looking to make sure that the time to
fill units was short enough so that you need to have a bit of time to turn a university
— unit over but they shouldn’t sit there for a long period of time and you shouldn’t
have trouble. There’s enough demand out there to fill a
unit. You have to make sure you’re primed and ready
to go. We wanted to make sure that was happening
and we want today make — wanted to make sure the city was complying with legislation.
So we had four key things and a video to show you.
The four key things looking at data. The data is the list, it’s really two things.
The list of applicants but it’s also the number of units that are vacant and making sure that
you know both numbers. The second was prioritizing the applicants
to make sure that those in the most need did receive housing.
The third was making sure there’s better use of any other housing units that we could find
and the fourth was making sure there was integration and strengthening controls.
One of the things is this area was a lot more complex.
I found it hard to navigate. I found it hard to find all the rules.
So I think about people already in a challenging situation trying to navigate their way through.
This should be one door to come to, make sure their information is updated and they can
be supported to gain housing if they are the person who is selected to be in a home.
So if you could just run the video to give a summary of what we found in the background
on the system. Housing affordable is a big challenge in Toronto.
The high costs with make families choose between paying rent and putting food on the table.
There simply isn’t enough — we
had Santa Clause on the list, he was sent a letter to verify his status. When it was
returned to sender he stayed on the list until we identified that he’s an active record.
We had people who had passed away. We had people who were over 100 years old
probably about 30 of those. So if you’re doing it based on age or you’re
doing it based on some other parameters you have to sort the spreadsheet and you see that
maybe there’s missing information, maybe their ages are out.
You know, if you’re determining who gets into a unit based on certain parameters then if
the information is wrong they may not get priority.
So we’ll start the video now. Sorry for the delay.
Housing affordability is a big challenge in Toronto.
The high cost can sometimes force families to choose between paying rent and putting
food on the table. There simply isn’t enough subsidized housing
stock to meet demand. Over 100,000 households were on the waiting
list in 2018 and just under 3,000 were housed. We wanted to see whether the waiting list
system is fair, equitable and as efficient ads possible.
When people apply for rent geared income they are applying to live in one of 64,000 housing
units in Toronto. The si — subsidizing the list.
Anyone can apply to get on the waiting list. The people applying must select the size of
the unit and the building where they want to live.
When a provider has a vacancy in the building they generate a list of applicant applicants.
The provider contacts them in the order on the list.
Income availability is checked at a latest time.
The auditor general found that only 13% of all offers are accelerate — accepted.
Having to make so many offers before one is accepted slows down the presesz of filling
vacant units. Management estimates that the city spends
$7 million on vacant RGI units in 2018. Improving the quality of contact information
on the waiting list and checking eligibility faster.
Priority applicants have a shorter time to wait.
The auditor general found that the people who fit the priority category are not always
given priority in the system. For example, we found over 3,000 households
on the waiting list with a shelter listed as their main address.
Two-thirds were not flagged as home less so they didn’t get priority.
The auditor general also found that no other factors are used to prioritize applicants.
So the city should consider more rules to ensure that the applicants in the most need
get prioritized first. Despite the high demand we found many units
sit vacant while some live in emergency shelters, some housing units are being used for other
purposes. The city should explore other options for
these units so families without a home can be housed in them.
With even a 50% improvement in the vacancy rate an extra 2200 people could access assistance.
Some are waiting to be demolish demolished and rebuilt.
There may be an opportunity to refurbish these units to yusz them as emergency or transitional
shelter. That would have to be explored a little bit
deeper. The auditor general made 2800 recommendations.
Some break down barriers to build vacant units immediately.
Some are for the median term such as reviewing priorities for RGI and some for implementing
a better tool to manage the wait list. To find out more visit Toronto.ca/audit.
Thank you. I’ll ask my assistant auditor general to continue
with the presentation to unpack a bit more information.
If you can hold there for a moment. I want to do a bit of housekeeping.
We’re at 12:18. You’re going to need a few more minutes to
continue the presentation. I just want to check with the committee if
there’s a desire to extend the meeting to keep the momentum on this item?
I understand from Councillor Ford the last item that’s held should be fairly quick.
We have one other item in addition that should also be fairly quick.
Councillor Filion, we got the wording worked out.
Are we okay to extend? I have scheduled meetings at 1:00.
So I think go into the lunch hour for half an hour but I have commitments that I couldn’t
at this short notice reorganize. What’s the will of the committee here?
Do we want to break for lunch or extend? I’m flexible either way.
Do you want to just push it up until a few minutes before 1:00 and see how far we get
and if we finish or not? Okay.
There’s only three items left. I quick we could quick release the item that
Councillor Filion has held. Councillor Ford, do you have questions on the final item?
We should deal with that in order. If it is the will of the committee to move
along, I’m happy to release it and maybe — it’s up to City Council to correct.
It’s going to City Council. I’m happy to deal with it there.
I don’t want to take away any rights for you. Mr. Chair, let’s continue and if it becomes
an issue I’m happy to release. There’s other ways of dealing with it.
So we’ll deal with Councillor Filion’s item. We’re in the middle of the presentation, we
have a pause here. Let’s see if we can get that quick released.
We think just look at item number 13. This is a report back at the following meeting.
All those in favour of the amendment? Any opposed?
That’s carried. Item as amended?
All those in favour? Any opposed?
That is carried. Thank you.
So I’ll take a motion to extend until 1:00. We’ll deal with things as we get closer to
that. Councillor Ford.
All those in favour? Any opposed?
That’s carried. Thank you, Madame Auditor.
Please proceed. Thank you.
The four themes, first is to improve the integrity of the waiting list data, to know who is actively
waiting and eligible so units can be filled as fairly as quickly as possible.
The centralized waiting list data we received from management included more than 106,000
records, that’s 195,000 people. The city, TCHC and other housing providers
rely on the data to be able to contact people waiting for RGI assistance to efficiently
and effectively fill vacancies. What we found was that some of the information
contained in this centralized waiting list is inaccurate.
For example, incorrect contact information, incorrect information, incorrect dates and
ages, incorrect use of size and records. We identified 500 records with very basic
indicators of problem matt I think — problematic data.
Apply applicant information should have been looked at. Of there was a significant number
of people, around 25% of the waiting list, 127 # — 27,000 applicants.
We were unable to identify or verify the exact number of applicants who have not confirmed
their interest and who are no longer eligible for RGI assistance and who should become inactive.
This is an area the city should address because it’s important to know who is eligible and
actively waiting. This allows a more accurate look at who is
ready to housed. When a unit becomes available housing providers
contact people off the list to make an offer. Once a provider constants an applicant the
unit still may not be filled the due to a low acceptance rate.
In 2017 and 2018 providers made 47,000 housing offers.
These were based to the vacant unit to the household specified preferences.
Still only 13% of offers were accepted. Many applicants could not be reached, did
not respond or declined offers for other reasons. Acceptance rates are low because incomplete,
incorrect or out of date applicant information slows down housing provides ability to reach
RGI applicants. In a survey we conducted during our audit,
housing providers reported they would like to see improvements in the accuracy of applicant
contact information. Of the 86 housing providers responded the
top two reasons given for not being able to fill a vacant RGI house was no response to
messaging left or not being anal to contact applicants- able to contact applicants.
It’s important to have the best possible information so that providers can provide housing as expeditiously
as possible. Any delays cost the city.
Management estimates that in 2018 the amount of subsidy the city paid to housing providers
or the amount of rental revenue lost while RGI units was vacant was $7 million.
So in this area there’s a number of key actions. In the short term we think it’s important
to focus on sections or groupings of people and fill the units accordingly.
For example, there’s over 200 bachelor units and senior accommodation. There’s a high decline
rate and they have been vacant for a very long time.
Very long time. And the reason they are vacant is TCHC is
trying to follow the rules. They are following the rules in relation to
offering it to internal units first. The challenge is the internal clients are
declining. It’s important if something is not working.
For example, you have empty units. Look to the central waiting list.
So people age 65 and older on the centralized waiting list there’s 11,700 people who had
not received an offer in three and half years. So on the one hand TCHC is reporting to us
and to council that — and to the board, you know, there’s a high decline rate, maybe 50%
decline rate by the people age 65 and older and there may be because they are internal
applicants. The people on the central waiting list are
not receiving the offers. So with this divided information, the silos
I think it’s important to come together analyze the list, verify information that — where
people can have offers, send out the offers and fill those units as quickly as possible.
The communication Mr. Richardson eluded, to issues with communication, we noticed a huge
number of people have e-mail addresses in their application, texts, cell phones.
Leverage that information. Instead of sending out 70,000 letters.
Leverage the information you have to get ahold of people as quickly as possible.
Prime the list so by the time you get down to list you know people are waiting and the
information is accurate. I think it’s important to report on outcomes.
Every quarter the outcome should be how many people got housed permanently.
Regardless of systems if people know their job depends on getting poo — people in those
units the way they approach it might be more dynamically, urgently.
So I think that starting with the first big win on the senior’s portfolio, make sure you
get those people housed and then keep moving forward.
And then there are opportunities, the province is opening up some legislation in this area.
There’s opportunities to make any changes if we feel there’s changes.
So these are all short-term and medium term. Identify the incorrect applicant information.
I know we have systems and I know we’re going to move forward with new systems but we’ve
been waiting since 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. We’re in 2019.
City Council was informed in 2017 the incorrect information would be fixed.
That every on that waiting list would be ready. That didn’t happen.
So my view is take what you have, use what you have, identify the people you are sure
are not real records, take out those and really deal with a list you can use and deactivate
applications where there’s no list and make them reapply.
That’s the short term for item one. The second theme, whether the city is properly
prioritizing applicants and identify new opportunities to assess and rank the needs for faster access
to social housing and RGI assistance. 4% of applicants are identified as priority
and get housing faster. All other applicants are selected from the
centralized waiting list in chronological order based on application date.
The city should ensure applicants that are a priority are given priority.
For example, we noted that there are 3,250 households waiting for RGI assistance who
list an emergency shelter as their current address.
Two-thirds of these applicants will not receive any priority for RGI housing because they
have not been identified as experiencing homelessness in the waiting list information system.
Ensuring that those most in need get access is critical and may help to break this cycle
of homelessness. Second, the city should review its priority
rules. The city’s priorities were adopted in 2002
and have not been reviewed since then. For all applicants who are not designated
as a priority the did does not assess or rank the applicant by need.
Income is not assessed. Anally applicant is not assessed.
To improve how it prioritizes RGI assistance it needs to establish additional rules to
enable household providers to select from the waiting list basted on those priorities.
Examples of factors include income level, adequacy of current housing conditions and
risk of eviction. Third rngs the city should also consider a
more wholistic approach to housing, to ensure vulnerable applicants are not missing out
on opportunities to access subsidized housing. Better integrating the assistance provides
people experiencing homelessness waiting for RGI assistance.
We acknowledge that the city has began to address this area but it’s evident that more
can be done as illustrated by the example where we found that two-thirds of RGI applicants
are not prioritized. Fourth, the current supply of RGI housing
is not sufficient. Portable housing subsidies can help to address
the challenges of not having vacant social housing units.
The city should examine how to provide financial assistance to people regardless of where they
live. In doing so the city may be able to increase
the number of households it provides RGI assistance to so that it can meet the minimum prescribed
service levels by the province. Before I get to prioritizing this item two,
just leave it there — if you can put it on, that’s fine.
So a couple of items here. First one of the recommendations related to
portable how thing subsidies, that’s consistent with the task force on homelessness.
Second when we’re talking about the wait list, it’s important to be clear, they don’t verify
eligibility. Income eligibility is the done at a later
stage. There’s 50 people employed to administer the
wait list of verifying, for example, that they’re a Canadian citizen that and then helping
people get into certain accommodation. 50 people.
That’s a lot of resources. So we want to — as we have here making sure
the shelter clients — shelter clients may need more support.
Right now if your home is listed as a shelter address you are not deemed to be homeless
in the system. Even though you have priority you’re not deemed
to be homeless. It’s not a question of whether they’re ready.
In 2017 SSHA informed City Council that the list will be ready. These are people who if
you have to flag that they are homeless in addition to making the homeless shelter the
address — to me you have to make sure that you verify and you get support to verify that
the people who are ready and homeless can get offers because they do have priority and
then over the longer term look more into portable housing benefits and improved integration
with the homelessness and the shelter. This third theme is making better use of housing
units including units used for other purposes. Opening doors for more people to access RGI
housing. The first item on this table is vacant rentable
RGI units. Given the high demand for subsidized housing
we would expect vacant units to be filled quickly December — despite at the end of
2018 there units that could provide housing for at least 1600 people in need of RGI assistance.
The average RGI vacancy percent was 2.74%. It’s due to the units held for medical into
circulation. We are conservative here.
We realize some vacant units cannot be rented because of their state of good repair and
we have excluded these from our reported figures. Certain units that TCHC advised as not rentable
are not included on our numbers. This includes those units held for revitalization
demolished. Also not included are those that TCHC has
I’ved an uninhabitable or with extensive damage and buildings that are pending approval to
transfer to and agency. The vacancy is not a new concern.
In 2017 Mayor Tory asked to report back on what could be done to fail vacant unit faster.
In 2017 they received that build ths designated for seniors was a issue because they were
hard to fill. TCHC advised that offers for bachelor units
with seniors portfolio had a high vacancy rate and the rate of offered units being to
declined was high. Still this remains an issue to this date.
For example, we found that at tend of 2018 approximately 20% or 200 units of the vacant
rentable units are bachelor units and seniors designated building.
In our review of the centralized waiting list we found that currently there are 11,300 households
with seniors waiting for a bachelor unit. On average they have been waiting for an RGI
unit for three and half years. Furthermore, over 230 of those households
listed have a shelter as their current address. A comprehensive view of the problem is needed
to be able to determine whether policies or changing to local rules are necessary to fill
RGI vacancies. The next item on the table is social housing
units that are used for other purposes. In the report we identify 140 vacant rentable
using being used for contractors for storage, recreation programs or community programs.
If used for their intended purposing house, it could house 260 more people.
So it has come down and they are currently reporting 17 as of May.
So they are taking action. TCHC in consultation with the city should
seek out space for these purposes elsewhere in the immediate vicinity.
For example, looking to put officers or storages in trailers located on TCHC premises or, for
example, there are program — community programs where there’s a community centre located across
the street from that building. A review of housing units should be performed
to access what action is needed to enable social housing units to serve their purpose
of housing. With — we’ve been advised the TCHC is working
to fix this problem. The last item is over house.
The typically occurred when there’s a change such as when an adult child moves out and
when this happens the household ceases to be eligible for the unit they’re in and must
be transferred to a housing unit suitable for their household composition.
The city doesn’t have a complete picture of the number of over housed tenants.
For example, 600 over housed households. On the TCHC waiting list there’s over 1,375
tenants are and many are not tracking or reporting back to the centralized list.
The other part that we wanted to highlight was the possible opportunity to provide relief
to the energy shelter system. As part of the revitalization of certain TCHC
communities, TCHC has taken an approach to demolish the units.
Until they are vacated and ready for demolition more and more units will become vacant as
tenants as relocated and not rented out. In the past they have been left vacant from
several months to more than five years while waiting to be demolished.
Right now there’s 185 units in Regent Park that are vacant.
We visited 10% of these units during the audit. The majority of them are usable.
The photos show a range of those units. All would require a thorough cleaning and
in some cases minor repairs such as painting. A small portion would require significant
work. To be clear, this is about providing potential
relief to the emergency shelter system and having the city explore designating the space
as emergency shelters. For example, the city spends approximately
$47 million in 2018 on hotels the temporarily house families in about 800 hotel rooms.
There may be an opportunity for savings if the city is able to leverage these units as
a short-term strategy. We recognize this would be complicated but
we feel it’s worthwhile exploring. Just to add commentary, the first thing we
will hear is that will be disruptive to the community.
My view is we have families in trailers or a blue thing or in a hotel unit and you have
units that have, you know, fridges working, stoves working but they do need cleaning and
it is complicated because you have to maybe think a bit differently.
There is an opportunity to explore this further. It’s not a question of disrupting the community,
it’s just finding those families that need to have a little more stability to start their
living moving forward. So we think there’s an opportunity with exploring
there for sure. The fourth category is to enhance oversight
and strength and controls. These areas are listed on your slide.
I’m not going to spend very much time because they’re on the slide and in the report.
Of particular note, these are area that is the city can explore to improve te — the
efficiency and strengthen controls. Of
particular note, access to housing so the city’s division and shelter support and shelter
support administration does not verify household income or whether the applicant owns any significant
assets. Applicants self-declare income when they apply
and a proportion has not provided this information. Housing providers at the time of housing and
only at that time verify income and it may be discovered actually that some of these
applicants are not eligible. The city should look to integrate initial
and ongoing eligibility reviews and income verification for all housing subsidy programs
currently disbursed amongst multiple group ts.
This will help the efficiency and quality of such reviews.
This might be part of or supplemental work on the human services integration project.
It is consistent with the mayor’s 2016 task force on Toronto community housing information
that the transfer of responsibility for the centralized waiting list to the city was an
opportunity to integrate a delivery of RGI with other forms of housing assistance as
well as other services. I’d also note that we have started our next
audit focusing on on going eligibility for RGI assistance.
That’s an audit. And that audit depending on what we find because
we will be looking at the rent roles, it may be we identify additional units that have
been vacant. This is just our start.
I’m going to summarize on one slide. There’s a higher demand, even if you clean up you
are going to need more housing. So that has to be said.
The other thing is that if you wanted to create 1,000 units you have between 1,000 and 1,500
units vacant. If you wanted to create and build that, that
would have cost you $330 million based on the affordable housing estimate.
You have an opportunity to break down the bureaucracy and fill those units.
It’s huge. The findings, there’s 18.
It’s important to set priority actions. I think the most important thing in this report
is to focus on the outcomes and weigh success based on the outcomes and not wait another
two years for a system, not have anymore processes but make sure you be nimble and be successful
because it matters. Thank you.
Thank you, Madame Auditor. I want to welcome Mary Ann as well to the
podium. I know that staff also have some slides to
present. I’m just going to do a quick time check and a little bit more housekeeping here.
Mary Ann, we have 15 minutes so we need to — we’re required to take some action as a
committee. Do you think you can make your presentation
in that time or you need more? No, I won’t need that much.
So I’m going to do a time check here now with the committee procedure.
I know Councillor Matlow expressed a requirement to break at 1:00.
I want to keep the momentum on this. Would a 30 minute break from 1:00 to 1:30
be okay with the committee so we can get back here and get back into this item and have
the opportunity to ask the questions and to speak as we have to.
I know Councillor Ford you’ve expressed an interest on item number 15.
A piece of housekeeping, there’s a presentation available but not required.
Any members that desire a presentation on that?
Okay. So that is important.
I want to make sure that we let the staff know responsible for that to have their folks
back shortly past 1:30 to deal with that matter and then we’ll have some time for questions
on that. With that I think we’ll go through your slides
and before we get into deeper questions we’ll make a consideration to take a break until
1:30. Thank you very much.
So the first thing I’d like to say is that SSHA completely conquers with the rent recommendations
this this report. We feel this will strengthen our oversight
function and enable us to assert our roll as a service system manager an allow us to
consider the on going and incremental changes already underway that will enhance the custom
service experience and maximize our social housing assets.
Since bringing housing connections into the city for greater oversight we have focused
our attention on three areas. There is a clear legislative frame work that
governs social housing and we have been working to advocate for change and we are confident
that positive changes are coming and that they will enhance our availability to respond
to some of the recommendations that the auditor has made.
We have undertaken early and incremental service improvements that will facility our implementation
of a model next year. Some of the specific changes that we have
already undertaken, the average of seven offers that we used to experience because of training
and other steps that we’ve taken, we are now down to about 3.2 offers to fill a vacancy
which is a considerable improvement. We’ve had targeted outreach to over 25,000
people recently in the last few months to confirm interest to maintain our data integrity.
We are launching a new map-based housing list that allows people to gain additional information
such as viewing units, floor plans, neighbourhoods which will allow them to make more informed
housing choices. We have a plan to address all the recommendations
in this report and we are on track. We feel confident that this report will support
and improve or work and also facilitate council’s direction to move forward and modernize the
social housing system. That’s my presentation.
Thank you. So again I’ll propose to the committee, I
think it might be time to take a break. It will be a bit of a compressed lunch but
come back at 1:30 and carry on with the questions. Thank you.

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