Reducing The Number Of Government Agencies
MERGERS AND TERMINATIONS
Ontario is moving forward with its plan to reduce the number of government agencies by five per cent. In total, fourteen agencies are expected to be closed or merged. This will result in $5.2 million in savings that will be reinvested to front-line services.
In late January, the McGuinty government announced its intent to merge the Ontario Realty Corporation with Infrastructure Ontario. This consolidation would create a single, more efficient organization that would save Ontarians an estimated $5 million annually.
Addtionally, the proposal includes combining the Stadium Corporation of Ontario (STADCO) with the proposed merger of Infrastructure Ontario and Ontario Realty Corporation. A one-time transfer of approximately $4.2 million in STADCO assets would be applied against the provincial debt. The new IO/ORC entity would then be charged with disposing of the real estate assets currently owned by the Stadium Corporation, with a view to maximizing the return to taxpayers.
The 11 agencies expected to be dissolved will save a further $200,000 annually. This includes:
Biopharmaceutical Investment Program Marketing Advisory Committee: identified prospective marketing opportunities, strategies and investment opportunities for the Biopharmaceutical Innovation Program.
As the Biopharmaceutical Investment Program is no longer operational, this committee is no longer required to provide advice to the Minister of Research and Innovation.
Commodities Futures Advisory Board: advised the Ontario Securities Commission on developments in commodity futures contracts and commodity futures options, the manner of trading and the influence of trading in contracts on Ontario's economy.
This advisory committee to the Ontario Securities Commission is no longer in use.
Crown Timber Board of Examiners: set and conducted final written and practical examinations in wood measurement and recommended candidates qualified to receive a Scaler's Licence to the Minister Northern Development, Mines and Forestry.
Responsibilities could be carried out in future by an advisory committee.
Healing Arts Radiation Protection Commission: advised the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on matters relating to radiation safety, approved training courses in the operation of X-ray machines and was responsible for the X-ray Safety Code.
North Pickering Development Corporation: represented Ontario's interests in the planning and development of lands within North Pickering (Seaton).
The agency has fulfilled its mandate; development of the North Pickering Planning Area is being undertaken by the Ministry of Infrastructure and its agencies, and other ministries as required.
Ontario Network of Excellence Advisory Committee: made sure that the focus of the Ontario Network of Excellence remained on innovators, technology-based businesses, entrepreneurs or researchers in order to help them commercialize their ideas.
Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority: operated a regional transit system serving the regional transit area and from time to time serving municipalities not in the transit area under agreements between GO Transit and the other municipalities.
This agency was mandated to facilitate a financing agreement with GO Transit. The agency has fulfilled its purpose and obligations as identified in its enabling legislation.
Northern Ontario Grow Bonds Corporation: encouraged business development in Northern Ontario and provided debt financing to be used by eligible business entities.
The corporation is no longer carrying business and has been instructed to complete business by the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. It is expected the affairs can be settled by April 2012.
ORtech: Process Research ORTECH Inc. (PRO) was incorporated in January 1999 to take over the Process Technologies activities of ORTECH Corporation (formerly Ontario Research Foundation)
Ontario Development Corporation: gave financial assistance to industry through loans, guarantees or purchases of shares or other securities; provided sites, equipment, premises, facilities and services; and, offered technical, business and financial information, advice, training and guidance to persons or organizations.
The Social Assistance Review Board: created to handle appeals related to the Family Benefits Act and had no other function. The Family Benefits Act was repealed January 1, 2011. All outstanding cases have been transferred to the Social Benefits Tribunal.
RITA BURAK REPORT
The McGuinty government has accepted the recommendations made in December 2010 by Rita Burak in her Report as Special Advisor on Agencies, and will continue to improve agency accountability and transparency by adopting a number of new initiatives, including:
- Designating the Ministry of Government Services to serve as the central organization within government to oversee the work of agencies and provide support and guidance on corporate issues
- Ensuring more frequent audits
- Requiring written ministerial responses after annual discussions between ministers and agency board members to set clear expectations for results.
These actions build on the steps the Ontario government has already taken requiring agencies to be more accountable and transparent and to follow strong governance and expense disclosure rules. To make sure public money is used as efficiently as possible, the Ontario government:
- Passed the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009 which gives the Integrity Commissioner the authority to review expense claims of senior officials in 22 of the province's largest agencies.
- Provided access to an online listing of expense information of the chairs and other appointees, senior executives, and the top five claimants at 22 of Ontario's largest agencies.
- Revised the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive to strengthen accountability and improve clarity on expense rules for staff at ministries and classified agencies.
- Passed the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 which prohibits public entities and government agencies from using public funds to hire consultant lobbyists.
- Revised the Agency Establishment and Accountability Directive to require more rigorous ministry oversight and mandatory reporting for classified agencies.