BAO staff and board score an 86% for the public on the Auditor General’s report card
The diligent consumer-protection work by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario’s staff and board has paid off with a score of 86 per cent from the Office of the Auditor General (AG) of Ontario’s two-year progress report.
The AG released the Follow-Up report Wednesday afternoon on its 2020 Value-for-Money Audit of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO).
“Our staff focused their attention on the 51 action items required to address the AG’s 20 recommendations. Two years later we have the results of our team’s ongoing professional commitment to constant improvement for grieving families and the bereavement sector’s hard-working licensees,” says Carey Smith, CEO & Registrar of the BAO.
“We welcomed the AG’s audit of 2020 as an opportunity to improve and grow our services for the public and to support our licensed professionals in elevating the sector,” Smith added.
“Our commitment to implementing the AG’s recommendations was 100 per cent from the BAO Board to management and our staff.”
Here’s the breakdown of the score from the AG Follow-Up report:
- 86 per cent – Fully implemented, or in the process of being implemented, actions
- Of that 86 per cent, 57 per cent are fully implemented and 29 per cent are in the process of being implemented
- 5 per cent have had little or no progress
- 4 per cent will not be implemented
- 5 per cent are no longer applicable
The BAO results include 36 action items directed at the BAO, 11 action items directed at the BAO and the Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery (formerly the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services), and four action items directed at the BAO, other ministries and parties.
The AG wrote in the Overall Conclusion of its Follow-Up: “The Ministry of Public and Business Service Delivery and the Bereavement Authority have fully implemented recommendations such as
- Standardizing the price lists among all licensed operators, including identifying what services are required by law and what is optional,
- Conducting unannounced inspections and mystery shopper visits,
- Conducting performance reviews, at least annually, for each inspector,
- Crosschecking the listing of Environmental Compliance Approvals maintained by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure that the listing is complete, and
- Verifying that all Class 1 licensed funeral homes possess a current hazardous waste generator number.”
Other excerpts of the AG Follow-Up report include:
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 1 – To protect consumers when making bereavement-related purchases, we recommend that the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services work with the Bereavement Authority of Ontario to develop effective strategies to increase the transparency of price information to consumers (such as requiring all licensed operators to provide their price lists online as well as an electronic copy or a link to the Bereavement Authority’s consumer information guide), and determine where it will be necessary as a result to amend legislation and/or regulations.
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 2 – To protect consumers when making bereavement-related purchases, we recommend that the Bereavement Authority of Ontario: standardize the presentation of price lists among all licensed operators, such as for a basic cremation service, other services and products and clearly identify whether each of them is required by law and in what circumstances, or if they are optional;
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 4 – To protect consumers’ money deposited in care and maintenance funds maintained by cemeteries for upkeep of the cemeteries, we recommend that the Bereavement Authority of Ontario: make arrangements with all trustees of cemeteries to obtain access or disclosure of trustee statements directly from them;
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 5 – To protect consumer funds held in trust by funeral homes and transfer services, we recommend that the Bereavement Authority of Ontario perform inspections or impose conditions or other appropriate consequences, if funeral homes or transfer services do not file reports on prepaid funds within 90 days after their fiscal year end, or fail to take timely action to correct any deficiencies identified.
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 6 – To protect consumers through its inspection efforts, we recommend that the Bereavement Authority of Ontario use the analyses from its inspection results to establish an annual inspection plan that targets high-risk areas for inspection, and specifies the percentage of inspections to be reactive versus proactive, and how inspections are prioritized based on risk, urgency and severity of potential non-compliance.
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 9 – To assess the sufficiency of caseloads and to improve the quality of work done by inspectors.
- Fully implemented – Recommendation 20 – To improve the Board oversight of the Bereavement Authority of Ontario with a mandate to protect consumers, we recommend the Board of directors: regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the Bereavement Authority in achieving its mandate by obtaining and reviewing complete, accurate and up to date information to make informed decisions.
Read the full Nov. 30, 2022 AG Follow-Up here.
Manager, Communications, BAO