LILLEY: Provincial auditors never really looked into OLG issues Premier wanted investigated

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Almost two years ago, Premier Doug Ford blew his top when he read a column on the expenses and compensation paid out for the top executive at the provincial gambling monopoly.


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Ford may blow his top again when he finds out that the audit he demanded at the time never really happened.

“I’ll tell you what we’re doing with OLG, we’re sending an auditing team in there,” Ford said in November 2019 following a series of reports in the Sun.

Those reports detailed how former CEO Stephen Rigby went from being a career bureaucrat in Ottawa to a high-paid, high-flying executive at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. When he was hired by the Wynne Liberals in 2015 his salary stood at $453,339 but rose each year, topping out at $797,309 when he left, an increase of more than 75%.

One thing is clear, OLG profits didn’t go up by 75% when Rigby was in charge, revenues rose but at times the percentage turned over in profit to the province went down. Rigby’s salary never did.


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The stories in November 2019 also detailed how the OLG board approved paying more than $20,000 for Rigby to commute between Ottawa and Toronto, mostly via flights, when he was hired. The people of Ontario were also footing the bill for Rigby’s lavish home rental for the nine months he commuted — a figure that worked out to $6,297 a month, well above Toronto’s average rent at the time.

  1. OLG CEO Stephen Rigby (

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  2. OLG logo.

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  3. Premier Doug Ford attends question period in the Ontario legislature in Toronto on Tuesday October 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

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Between these expenses, office renovations, expensive art rented from the federal government in Ottawa, Ford was furious two years ago.

“There’s one thing I won’t tolerate is people wasting taxpayers’ money. So once we get the audit done, we’ll make sure we’re transparent, we’ll be talking to the media and you can look at the audit,” Ford said.


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None of that came true.

The government was not transparent, they did not make the audit public and government officials have not wanted to talk to the media about this.

The audit that mentions Rigby’s issues in brief was completed in June 2020 but only released late in the day on Oct. 8, 2021. When the government puts something out late in the afternoon of the Friday of a long weekend and they don’t even issue a news release, you know they don’t want it out there.

The real issue that should bother Ford is that provincial auditors didn’t look into these issues surrounding Rigby, they relied on the work of OLG’s own board audit committee.

“OLG’s Internal Audit special report was completed in February 2020 and points to: adherence with applicable policies, directives and guidelines; appropriate authorization of all expenses,” the audit states at Appendix H.


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An organization investigating itself will rarely find problems, it especially won’t find fault on specific issues that the board members on the audit committee approved.

Why does any of this matter? Why should the public care about what happens at the government gambling monopoly?

Quite simply, OLG is a multi-billion-dollar company that we, the taxpaying public of Ontario, own. Its job is to provide revenue to the province to pay for provincial services. While OLG does a fair job at that — it’s hard to screw up a gambling monopoly — it doesn’t do a good job or even a great job.

OLG has been subjected to bad management on and off for years and over the past several years that has meant a swelling of the executive ranks and expenses but not of money to the province.

We deserve better from OLG and we deserve the audit Ford promised.


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