Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Auditor general's report on federal tobacco program

The 2008 era $284-million federal tobacco program designed to transition farmers out of tobacco growing was reviewed by the Auditor General. Looks like it was a total failure.
A $284-million Agriculture Canada program to change the Ontario tobacco industry and encourage farmers to leave the business was poorly planned and ended up falling short in some of its goals, says a new report.
More than half the people who received money weren't active tobacco farmers at the time, although they were entitled to grow it under the quota system run by the provincial Tobacco Marketing Board.
Some farmers ended up taking money to get out of the business, then shifted their land and equipment to relatives who kept on growing tobacco.

Tobacco production doubled the next year.

"Design of the Tobacco Transition Program was rushed, making its delivery challenging," Wiersema said.

"In some cases, recipients who received money for exiting the industry continued to produce tobacco, undermining one of the program’s objectives.

"This underscores the importance of sound program design, including considering what could go wrong and how to prevent it."
They doubled tobacco production! That's a remarkable achievement.

As for what drove the poor program design, whatever could have been the causes of that?

Nonsensical defence of the program as well. That anyone entitled to grow tobacco, but not growing it, should have been compensated because they had the right to grow it. Those people clearly didn't need transitional help.

Seems like those who have received money for exiting the industry, but who continued to produce tobacco, should be made to pay back the funds. But maybe that's not possible due to the poor program design done within a "short time frame."