Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, issued the following statement in response to the auditor general’s report on the Alberta Production Grant:
“I would like to thank the auditor general for his careful consideration of the Alberta Production Grant and his thoughtful recommendations.
“We accept and agree with the auditor general’s recommendations to improve the controls over administration of the Alberta Production Grant.
“Prior to the auditor general’s audit and subsequent report, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism began addressing the need for strengthened financial and audit controls of the Alberta Production Grant. The former Conservative government designed a bottomless grant program, with no financial accountability measures and limited oversight. We know Albertans expect us to invest responsibly and in areas that will bring the largest economic and cultural benefit to Alberta.
“That’s why on Oct. 3, I announced an improved grant program for the film, television and digital media industry. The Screen-Based Production Grant replaced the Alberta Production Grant, introduced new funding criteria, specific application intake periods, stricter financial controls and a set annual budget.
“The Screen-Based Production Grant program is designed to be responsive to the needs of the industry while balancing our commitment to fiscal responsibility and making life better for Albertans. The new Screen-Based Production Grant addresses the Office of the Auditor General’s recommendations including: defining and documenting clear, easy-to-understand criteria for Alberta eligible expenses; creating and communicating program guidelines to stakeholders; enhancing monitoring of the grants; and developing a structured risk assessment framework.
“Learnings from the previous Alberta Production Grant program have been captured and addressed in the new Screen-Based Production Grant program. This audit allowed us to further ensure the program’s financial and audit controls were appropriate.”