FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has acknowledged recommendations in the Auditor General’s October 2020 report, that looked at programs and policies involving the departments of Health; Education and Early Childhood Development; and Natural Resources and Energy Development.

The report contains several recommendations made to government departments and the responses from the departments. Several of the recommendations have already been addressed by the provincial government and more are in progress.


The report identifies three primary recommendations relating to the structure of Extra Mural/ Ambulance New Brunswick (EM/ANB) and the contract for ambulance services with the same entity.

The audit covers the 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscal years. Since this time, work has been undertaken to improve governance structure and performance management. This work included the implementation of a comprehensive policy framework to support the EM/ANB board of directors as well as the establishment of multiple board committees to increase oversight and accountability with representation from a range of medical and clinical representatives. This framework and these changes recently received the highest mark from Accreditation Canada, an independent body which provides accreditation of health-care organizations across the country.

The Department of Health recognizes that recruitment and retention issues in the paramedic field are challenging. One part of the report looks at payments to the contractor with respect to paramedic vacancies.

“EM/ANB has been and continues to be a valuable partner in the delivery of this very important element of our health-care system,” said Health Minister Dorothy Shephard. “I view the auditor general’s report as an opportunity. We will use the recommendations as a launch point to reach out to Medavie Health Services New Brunswick, the company contracted in 2017 to manage the ambulance service, to improve the services for all New Brunswickers.”

Education and Early Childhood Development

The auditor general reviewed the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s ability to evaluate major school infrastructure projects that have been requested by the school districts. A tool known as the Quadruple Bottom Line Analysis (QBL) was designed to assist in this evaluation, but it is not a decision-making tool.

Specific reference is made in the auditor general’s report to the identification and execution of a new kindergarten to Grade 8 school in Hanwell. It was established as a priority in 2016 to address overcrowding and space deficiencies in the Fredericton catchment area.

“While there are recommendations in this report that are valid, there are conclusions that are out-of-context and incomplete,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “Having an objective, data-driven process when it comes to setting priorities and making decisions is important. We welcome any fact-based recommendations to help us achieve this goal”.

The department’s recent green paper on education in New Brunswick, Succeeding at Home, recognizes that stable, multi-year-funding for the education system is critical. The department is committed to working with all parties to ensure funding supports the long-term goals of the education system.

Natural Resources and Energy Development

A previous 2008 report of the auditor general looked at the department’s approach to determining Crown timber royalty rates in place at that time. The main finding 12 years later is that a fair market value study by the Forest Products Commission has significantly improved.

“The latest findings of the auditor general clearly show that the private stumpage market functions well, that the prices are not distorted and that the rates can be used as the basis for determining fair market value for Crown stumpage rates,” said Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland. “We have made it a top priority to work with the private woodlot sector to improve the sector through increasing participation in management and building trust and confidence in the management system.”

The ministers said that the provincial government appreciates the work that the auditor general and her staff do on behalf of New Brunswickers. They said the recommendations provided offer important insights that will help the government to continue improving the programs and services it delivers.