TORONTO — Two former senior bureaucrats in Ontario’s health ministry say they have no idea what went wrong at Ornge, adding their voices to a chorus of government officials hard-pressed to pinpoint how the air ambulance service got so out of hand.
For years, whistleblowers, opposition parties and even bureaucrats raised red flags that trouble was brewing at Ornge, which is now under a criminal probe for financial irregularities, a legislative committee has heard.
But no one seems to know why they weren’t acted upon until late last year, when Ontario’s auditor general told Health Minister Deb Matthews that he was being stonewalled by Ornge.
Ron Sapsford, who acted as deputy minister of the health ministry from 2005 — the year Ornge was created — until 2009, said Wednesday that Ornge withheld information that might have raised suspicions.
“Actions were taken that were not revealed, and things were done behind closed doors and difficult to discover and understand,” he said.