Auditor General Concerned That Most of $74M Green Fund Held In Partner Bank Accounts

Auditor General Concerned That Most of $74M Green Fund Held In Partner Bank Accounts

For release February 28 – Close to $74 million has been transferred out of a provincial Green Fund set up to combat climate change but only a fraction has been spent on climate change programming to date, says Auditor General Kim Adair.

The Auditor General flags this concern following a review of the first two years of Green Fund operations. The entire $73.7 million was paid out while only $11.9 million was spent on programs.

The $60 million remaining in program partner bank accounts highlights the importance of providing funding only as needed to ensure it’s used for the intended purpose. Removing it from provincial control also reduces the flexibility government has in redirecting funds to targeted areas, says Adair.

“Even though we asked for an explanation, it remains unclear why millions of dollars are handed over to non-government parties, years before they are needed to deliver Green Fund initiatives.”

Audit testing found both EfficiencyOne and Clean Foundation are delivering programs in accordance with agreements, and they’re reporting the required information to the Department. However, the Department is not reviewing the information to determine if performance targets are on track, or if program outcomes meet the original intentions.

“We expected to see strong and responsive monitoring considering the program partners have all the money up front, but the department is not effectively monitoring or reviewing the performance of Green Fund programs.”

In addition, the Department of Environment and Climate Change doesn’t have an established process to select programming and funding partners, and instead chose EfficiencyOne and Clean Foundation to deliver its programs based on prior relationships.

The Green Fund was created in 2019 to receive the revenue from Nova Scotia’s cap-and-trade program. That program raises revenue through the auction of emissions allowances which give participants the right to emit greenhouse gas pollution.

Funding to climate change reduction initiatives is important because the province has set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 53 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, and to be net-zero by 2050.

The Auditor General makes six recommendations in the report, including that the Department of Environment and Climate Change disburse Green Fund money based on partners’ annual funding requirements. The Auditor General trusts all recommendations will be considered to guide improvements as the Department transitions to the new Nova Scotia Climate Change Fund.

French news release/communiqué