Gaming grant oversight needs overhaul, A-G finds

Review of B.C.'s $135-million gaming grant fund shows gap in how government measures performance.

When it comes to gaming grants in B.C., the province has a “suitable framework” in place to manage this program but improvements are needed, says B.C. Auditor General Carol Bellringer.

Her office reviewed the provinces $135 million gaming grant fund and found a gap in how the government measures the program’s performance.

“Greater information is needed to allow stakeholders, like communities and non-profits themselves, to see the successes of the program, and to better understand how well this program is being managed,” the report says.

Recommendations in the report include improving how the government advertises one-time gaming grants, how gaming grant recipients are chosen and awarded, and how the province monitors where the grant money goes.

Despite requiring applicants to report how the money is spent, a number of recipients would receive funding the next year even if they hadn’t submitted a report on prior funding, the report showed.

“We recognize that many organizations depend on this funding,” Bellringer said. “But $135 million is a lot of money to give out without this kind of information.”

Updating the application’s guidelines is also recommended, Bellringer said.

“Ministry staff assesses grant applicants against the program guidelines but the guidelines need clarifying and updating.”

In 2013 to 2015, about 400 to 450 groups did not get the amounts requested in gaming funds, according to the report. However, about 75 per cent applied for reconsideration and received the requested amounts.

Having a more efficient program that made it easier for charities to only need to apply one time “would be ideal,” Bellringer said.

Reassessing the entire gaming grant structure was also suggested, which would look at whether the $135 million is enough, Bellringer added.

When the recession hit in 2008, the B.C. Liberal government cut grant funding from the B.C. Lottery Corporation from $156 million to $113 million, then raised it back to $120 million to restore funds to school district parent advisory councils. It was increased to the current amount in 2011.

When asked if there’s a chance community groups could see a bigger chunk of gaming revenue being used for this gaming grant fund, Premier Christy Clark said all recommendations of the auditor general is being considered.

“What I said when I was running for leader is that we need to get the gaming grants, that are so beneficial for arts and culture in communities, back up to previous levels. We have done that. I think it’s the highest it’s ever been now. So that was a promise made, promise kept,” Clark said.

See the full report here.

With files from Tom Fletcher/Black Press.


@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.caLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Sooke councillors face old issues and new challenges

First meeting of new council sets the stage for the future

Passenger passes out on a bus in Sooke

Man was revived and was alert and coherent

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Firefighters rescue horse stuck in Saanich mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Food service workers at Victoria airport protest for second time in four months

Negotiations continue to drag on with employer Compass Group Canada, VAA refuses to engage

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read