Cost of Sask. Party Linkin information management system balloons $60M over budget

The Official Opposition is calling for a special investigation by the Provincial Auditor

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Critic for Social Services and Housing Meara Conway held a media availability to raise the alarm on the Ministry of Social Services’ Linkin information management system and called on the provincial auditor to conduct a special investigation into the egregious project cost overruns.

“It’s been 13 years since the announcement of this program, the province has spent $60 million over the original program cost, and it's still not fully operational,” said Conway. “Meanwhile, outcomes for kids in the system in the ministry's care aren’t improving - if anything, they're getting worse.”

First announced in 2009, by then Social Services Minister and current Finance Minister Donna Harpauer, the information management system had an original price tag of $15 million over three years. The cost for the system has since ballooned to $73.3 million as of April 2021 with an additional $2.35 million identified in committee this year, bringing the total project cost to $75.65 million. Despite the original project description stating that the program was to be implemented across the Ministry of Social Services to “meet the business requirements of the Child and Family Services, Income Assistance, and Community Living divisions,” the program's scope is narrower and only utilized by the Child and Family Services division. 

“The Sask. Party government still hasn’t provided any relief to the people of Saskatchewan who are struggling with the crushing cost-of-living. Meanwhile, we see example after example of reckless government spending and attempts to justify 8,000 dollar flights over 4-hour drives,” said Conway. “It’s no wonder this Sask. Party government has tripled Saskatchewan’s debt and hasn’t balanced a budget since 2015. The Sask. Party can’t be trusted to manage Saskatchewan people’s money.”

The Official Opposition has requested that the Provincial Auditor conduct a special investigation pursuant to Section 13 of The Provincial Auditor Act to investigate the growing and ongoing cost overruns related to the Ministry of Social Services Linkin information management system project. 

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