POLITICS
05/01/2014 08:20 EDT | Updated 07/01/2014 05:59 EDT

Saskatchewan NDP questions government's spending on Lean program

REGINA - The amount the Saskatchewan government says it has spent on the Lean process isn’t adding up, according to the opposition NDP.

Provincewide, the government says it has spent $26 million on a contract bringing in health-care efficiency expert John Black, and another $5.3 million in education and advanced education. That’s nowhere near the number the NDP is calculating.

“One of the frustrations we’ve had is we’re trying to piece together information from the public record, from information we’ve requested from the government and the number we’ve come up with so far is around $100 million,” said Warren McCall, the NDP's Lean critic.

The NDP numbers date back to 2008. They were released by the opposition in a piecemeal document comprised of written questions and answers from the house, annual reports, and a newspaper article that all have quotes from the government answering questions about the cost of Lean.

Adding the numbers together, the NDP came up with nearly $105 million.

“I think they’re pulling it out of a hat. I think they might be double counting,” said Nancy Heppner, minister of Government Relations.

The NDP says it doesn’t have enough information to calculate what it calls the “true” cost of Lean down to the dollars and cents. The party does say it is confident in the numbers it is putting forward.

“It’s totally within the government’s power to provide an accurate accounting of what’s been spent on Lean to date,” said McCall.

A detailed spending account is something people can expect to get from the government soon, according to Heppner. She said the opposition has requested the information in written questions and that the province is in the midst of compiling the information.

The Lean program, which finds ways to reduce spending and streamline services, was originally created in the manufacturing sector, but has since been applied to many other sectors and industries.

Saskatchewan is the first jurisdiction in Canada to apply the Lean program across its entire health system.

(CJME)