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Nova Scotia housing officials promise new policy to address conflicts of interest

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s Housing Department says a new policy will address issues of conflicts of interest highlighted in a recent auditor general’s report.

The provincial public accounts committee met today to discuss auditor general Kim Adair’s Jan. 17 report, which found numerous incidents of conflict of interest within the former Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority.

The report says the director who oversaw the largest housing authority in the province, responsible for more than 4,000 housing units in 90 properties in the Halifax and Hants County areas, had conflicts of interest that were not disclosed.

The authority, which was dissolved last year and amalgamated into a provincial housing agency, in 2020 awarded almost $1 million in contracts to a security company that had ties to the authority’s director.

Pam Menchenton, the executive director of client services for provincial public housing, says a new conflict of interest policy for provincial housing will address gaps that previously existed.

She says previous policy “may not have been applied consistently,” and the new version establishes clear guidelines for identifying and reporting potential conflicts of interest.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2023. 

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press