THE AGENCY which provided employment and other job services to northwest aboriginal people closed up shop March 31, ending more than 17 years of operations.
The Skeena Native Development Society was told by the federal government earlier this year its contract would not be renewed at the end of March because of spending irregularities. A successor agency has not yet been named from the nine organizations which submitted expressions of interest in early March.
Details are sketchy on how the development society’s now-former clients will be served until the new agency is put in place.
“We wish every client the best of success on being an active participant in the labour market. You showed the hard work and dedication it takes to be successful,” said society chair Marjorie McRae in a statement last week. She said the society has forwarded names and contact information for its clients to federal officials.
McRae also expressed confidence that a financial audit “will demonstrate good financial management practice as we have demonstrated in previous years.” The last contract between the society and the federal government was worth $6.8 million.
Federal officials have also said they want any money they consider spent wrongly returned.
There’s no detail available yet on what kind of ineligible expenses were uncovered but federal officials did say examples could include wages for mentors of those receiving employment assistance, costs connected with money raising activities or buying land and buildings.
They said the expenditures were uncovered during a routine monitoring of payment claims and that the ineligible expenditures were claimed in the last year of the agreement.
Results of a financial audit won’t be ready for several months.