Raising The Bar For Accountability And Transparency
McGuinty Government Proposes New Rules, Higher Standards For Broader Public Sector
Ontario is proposing strict new rules that would prevent organizations funded with taxpayer dollars from using public funds to hire external lobbyists to ask for more funding.
The proposed Broader Public Sector Accountability Act would, if passed, bring in new rules and higher accountability standards for hospitals, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the broader public sector around the use of external lobbyists, consultants and expenses. Hospital and LHIN executives could see reductions in pay, should they fail to comply with the requirements under the proposed Act.
The new rules would also apply to school boards, colleges, universities, hydro entities, community care access centres, Children's Aid Societies and other public sector organizations that receive more than $10 million in government funding.
In addition to ending the use of taxpayer dollars to hire lobbyists, the new rules would:
- Expand Freedom of Information legislation to cover hospitals.
- Require hospitals and LHINs to post expenses of senior executives online.
- Require hospitals and LHINs to report annually on their use of consultants.
The government is implementing the recommendations of the Auditor General and is taking further initiatives to raise the bar for accountability and transparency, whenever taxpayer dollars are spent. Increasing transparency and accountability is a key component of the government's Open Ontario Plan.
- The proposed Act would also include tough expense and procurement rules for large Broader Public Sector organizations, such as mandating competitive procurements.
- Ontario has reduced its reliance on consultants by 53 per cent. Consulting expenditures in 2001/02 were $656 million and have been reduced to $304 million in 2009/10.
- Lobbyists are required to publicly register under the Lobbyists Registration Act.
“Using taxpayer dollars to hire an external lobbyist to ask for more taxpayer dollars is a practice that has gone on for too long - it's unacceptable and it's over. We have to focus our investments on front-line health care and public programs. It's what the public expects and deserves.”