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B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong said the lottery corporation is implementing the recommendations.Chad Hipolito/The Globe and Mail

A failed voluntary-retirement program that cost British Columbia Lottery Corporation $25-million is a "shining" example of why business-and-management improvements are needed at the Crown corporation, says Finance Minister Mike de Jong.

Mr. de Jong said in a Wednesday news conference in Kamloops, B.C., that a lottery corporation restructuring exercise in March designed to cut operating costs by $20-million ended up costing $25-million.

He said the corporation's managers offered early retirement and severance packages to employees 50 years and older to reduce terminations, but instead of eliminating 68 positions, 142 people took advantage of the offer.

The package offered 18 months severance for some employees, regardless of their length of service.

"Not a particularly shining example of effective execution," said Mr. de Jong. "All in all, the report reveals and confirms that there were some important failings within the HR management section of the corporation."

The review included 25 recommendations for the lottery corporation, including several aimed at strengthening business and management planning and saving money.

Mr. de Jong said the lottery corporation is implementing the recommendations and he's confident the message about sharpening business practices has been received.

"The public should take great comfort, as I do, in the fact that the lottery corporation has already, by its actions, signalled the seriousness with which it takes the recommendations," he said.

But New Democrat gambling critic David Eby said Mr. de Jong sugar-coated a report that raises serious concerns about the lottery corporation.

He said the report includes details of lavish spending on employees and managers, lack of adequate enforcement and few internal controls.