OTTAWA, ON: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today released access-to-information documents showing a troubling lack of transparency and accountability surrounding corporate welfare handed out by the federal government, with virtually no information available regarding the number of jobs created from nearly $12 billion in taxpayer subsidies dispensed since 1967.
“We are constantly told by governments that corporate welfare creates jobs,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “And yet there is often no requirement that the recipients of the taxpayer subsidies report back to government on the number of jobs created as a result of these handouts.”
Wudrick noted that information obtained through this access-to-information request, which sought details regarding all loans, grants and other assistance of at least $25 million offered by Industry Canada (now Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada) since 1967, underscores the failure of successive governments to properly measure and track the effectiveness of taxpayer subsidies to private industry.
“We don’t know how many jobs are created. We don’t know the terms of loans. We don’t know how much interest is charged. In most cases, we don’t even know if money is ever repaid,” said Wudrick. “How can governments know if these programs are working if they don’t even measure the results? And is it reasonable to ask taxpayers to blindly accept that a large number of jobs will be created with these kinds of subsidies?”
Wudrick noted that the recent fury over executive compensation at Bombardier highlights the need for greater transparency whenever taxpayer dollars are given to private businesses.
“Corporate welfare is a bad idea, for many reasons,” said Wudrick. “But if governments are going to engage in it, surely the minimum expectation Canadians should have is transparency and accountability from both the governments offering the money, and the companies receiving it.”
To see a copy of the access-to-information request and response documents obtained by the CTF, click HERE.
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