The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region has filed a complaint with police and launched a lawsuit against a local contractor over alleged billing irregularities.

The health region says it began investigating in March 2017 after concerns were brought forward about potentially inappropriate contractor invoicing at the Regina Pioneer Village seniors’ complex.

“We immediately started an intensive and comprehensive internal investigation,” Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region president and CEO Keith Dewar said in a news release Wednesday.

“Today, we have officially filed a complaint with the Regina Police Service and have initiated a civil litigation claim against a local contractor who has performed significant work at the facility over the past several years.”

The health region says its internal investigation has verified that concerns focus only on administrative issues, and there is no evidence to suggest that there are concerns with the safety or quality of the work performed by the contractor.

The health region has also notified the provincial auditor and filed a loss report with the Financial Services Branch for a loss that could exceed $100,000. The amount of the loss will be further quantified through the evidence that will be gathered by the police as part of their investigation and through the civil court process, the health region said.

“RQHR recognizes the critical importance of appropriate and prudent stewardship of and accountability for public funds,” Dewar said.

“We clearly regret that this has occurred and assure the public that we will take all steps not only to recover any funds owing, but to take all appropriate measures to prevent any similar occurrences in the future.”

The health region says, as part of its investigation, it took immediate steps to remove the contractor’s ability to provide services. The Region ceased payment of all outstanding invoices pending verification of work performed.

Internal verification controls and procurement practices were improved to mitigate risk and the health region has also engaged the services of MNP to provide additional insight into areas for improvement.

“We look forward to any recommendations from MNP and the Provincial Auditor which may assist us in further tightening our controls and practices,” Dewar said.

The health region has not released the name of the contractor. The allegations have not been proven in court.