TORONTO—Waste Diversion Ontario, the provincial agency that oversees recycling programs in Ontario, said it will conduct a financial audit of Ontario Tire Stewardship in the wake of a newspaper article alleging financial improprieties at OTS.
“A financial audit is particularly important given recent reports concerning Ontario Tire Stew-ardship,” WDO said in a Feb. 9 news release regarding its 2016 budget.
The release said WDO will initiate a competitive bid pro-cess to select the service provi--ders who will conduct the audit. The agency said it expected to choose the contractor within a month of the date of the release.
A story in the Jan. 9 Toronto Star accused executives and directors of OTS of spending thousands of dollars of stewardship money on expensive hotel outings, dinners, wines and cocktails. Credit card statements confirmed the expenditures, according to the article.
The article alleged OTS contributed money to Ontario's ruling Liberal Party, including to the party's 2015 Summer Golf Classic and also for its May 2014 fundraising event.
In a Jan. 7 statement, OTS Executive Director Andrew Horsman said there were no improprieties at the agency.
“We maintain the highest standards and practices and a strict focus on controlling costs to ensure we use funds provided by stewards responsibly,” Horsman said.
The reduction in per-tire stewardship fees—from $5.84 in 2009 to $4.25 today—demonstrates the careful financial management at OTS.
OTS' administrative costs comprise 6 percent of the agency's total annual operating costs, according to Horsman. Expenditures related to the board of directors—including one meeting a year at an upscale hotel—total 0.1 percent of total administrative costs, he said.
In a Feb. 16 statement, Horsman said WDO told him the audit will begin in late March or early April.
“The auditors will find that OTS has operated in a manner consistent with the mission of the organization, the Used Tire Program plan and the Used Tires Regulation in Ontario,” he said.
WDO officials could not be reached for comment, and the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada deferred comment to OTS.
OTS ensures the recycling of more than 12 million tires generated in Ontario annually, all of them used within the province to make value-added products, the agency said.