The Auditor General’s office played online games during working hours

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Managers in Auditor General Karen Hogan’s office spent time playing online puzzle games as a “team-building activity,” according to Blacklock Journalist , who said officials had confirmed the report.

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Blacklock’s said Hogan had complained to MPs that his office was facing “tremendous challenges” due to COVID and budget constraints.

“It was not an office-wide activity,” said Hogan spokesman Vincent Frigon. “It was a team building activity for a team.”

Frigon said only 17 of 567 employees were invited to the Zoom puzzle game, which was played during work hours.

“Escape games are designed for participants to work together to accomplish a mission,” Frigon said. “Their value as a team building tool is well established. They develop and improve teamwork, collaborative problem solving and communication skills.

“A virtual escape room is a web-based experience,” he explained. “Participants join the room through the platform and work together within a set amount of time to gather the information needed to complete specific steps in a set order to leave the room before time runs out.”

Hogan had said in an October 20, 2020 report to parliament that his office was stretched thin with pandemic safety precautions and an $87.6 million budget. “The pandemic has presented enormous challenges to our operations,” Hogan wrote in a report on departmental results.

“Our staff have been busy reinventing the ‘new normal’ of our audit work, acquiring new tools and exploring new formats for engaging and communicating with remote staff and developing new ways to support learning,” Hogan wrote. The report did not mention online games, Blacklock’s noted.

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