Lethbridge supervised consumption site accused of financial irregularities

$13,000 used for parties, staff retreats and gift cards for board members

  • Jul. 16, 2020 11:10 a.m.

The Alberta government has ended its funding agreement with a supervised drug consumption site in Lethbridge after an audit showed financial irregularities.

Officials say in a news release that the independent accounting firm Deloitte did a grant expenditure audit.

It came after the province heard allegations of the irregularities at ARCHES, the non-profit agency overseeing the safe consumption site in Lethbridge.

The Deloitte report, which was released by the government, says more than $1.6 million was unaccounted for due to missing documentation from 2017 to 2018.

Another $13,000 was used for parties, staff retreats and gift cards for board members.

There were also thousands of dollars in travel expenses — including $4,301 for a manager to attend a conference in Portugal.

“It is disturbing and extremely disappointing to me that taxpayer funds allocated to this organization in order to serve the most vulnerable in Lethbridge would be used for European conferences, expenses for retreats, entertainment and gift cards,” Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Jason Luan said in a news release Thursday.

“Our government will not stand idly by while millions in taxpayer funds are missing or misappropriated.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 16, 2020

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