Government will expand Program Integrity Unit of Provincial Nominee Program

FOLLOWING criticism by Acting Auditor General Russ Jones that the B.C.’s Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness “isn’t doing enough to manage fraud risks” regarding the BC Provincial Nominee Program, minister Michelle Mungall announced on Tuesday that the Program Integrity Unit will be expanded.

She said: “The enhanced unit will strengthen our capacity to investigate, conduct site visits, support staff training and develop a dedicated reporting process for people who witness fraudulent activity in the program.”

Mungall noted: “The BC PNP supports economic growth and delivers positive results for employers and applicants by attracting and retaining international talent. The program helps address labour market needs and contributes to B.C.’s economic development.

“The Office of the Auditor General has identified important opportunities to further strengthen the BC PNP, including enhancing program integrity. The B.C. government agrees with the auditor general’s findings and accepts all four recommendations. We will be taking firm action to address and maintain the effectiveness and integrity of the program.

“Work on the auditor general’s recommendations are already underway, including developing a formal framework to better assess risks of misrepresentation, fraud and corruption.”

Mungall added: “We are defining comprehensive key performance measures to better assess the effectiveness of the BC PNP. Through the BC PNP online case management system, we are making improvements to the quality of data and how we collect it. Part of this work includes enhancing staff training to improve data collection practices and quality assurance.

“Newcomers contribute significantly to the social and economic fabric of our province. We are committed to enhancing and improving the BC PNP to protect the integrity of the program and the newcomers who have chosen to make B.C. their home.”