Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa and Durham team up to stop election campaign finance fraud

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Published February 7, 2022 at 12:56 pm

The municipalities of Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa as well as Durham Region, will be sharing resources for the Joint Compliance Audit Committee, formed to audit the election finances of municipal candidates, should the need arise.

A report delivered to Pickering Council today declared the Joint 2018 Committee a “success” and demonstrated the expected efficiencies through the sharing of costs of solicitation, recruitment, training and retainer fees. Additionally, the collaboration allowed for the pooling of resources to advertise across various mediums that will attract candidates with the skills required to effectively serve on Compliance Audit Committees.

Traditionally, each municipality would provide their own auditors, who would ten offer their services to other local towns, resulting in multiple retainer fees and multiple meeting payments to the same individual.

Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa and the Durham District School Board (plus Durham) got together in 2018 to save costs, following in the steps of York, Halton and Niagara regions.

Under the Municipal Act, if a citizen believes “within reasonable grounds” that a candidate has contravened a provision of the Act regarding their campaign finances, that citizen may request an audit, providing the request is within 90 days of the candidates filing of financial records. If the committee agrees the complaint has merit, an audit is performed.

Members of the committee are paid a $400 retainer, plus $350 per meeting plus mileage. The Region of Durham has committed to covering the costs for recruitment advertising as well as being the central intake for applications.

Advertisements will be placed in Workopolis, the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators, and Ontario Reports. These have been selected to target candidates with a financial and legal background best to fulfill their responsibilities. Preference will be given to candidates that have experience in compliance audit activities, accounting, law, investigative or adjudicative processes.

No applications for a compliance audit were filed by an elector related to the 2018 Municipal Election in Durham Region.

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