McGuinty government introduces legislation to expand public sector accountability

Archived Release

McGuinty government introduces legislation to expand public sector accountability

Ministry of Finance

Bill central to Democratic Renewal reforms, positive change agenda TORONTO, Dec. 9 - In keeping with the McGuinty government's commitment to deliver positive change, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara today introduced amendments to the Audit Act to make the entire public sector more transparent and accountable to the people of Ontario. This legislation, if passed, would rename the Provincial Auditor the Auditor General, and would provide the Auditor General with expanded powers to conduct value-for-money audits of institutions in the broader public sector, such as school boards, universities, colleges, hospitals, and all Crown-controlled corporations including Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation and their subsidiaries. "We will allow the public watchdog to shine a light on more of those organizations that spend taxpayer dollars as a key means of ensuring that Ontarians are getting value for the money they invest in their public services," Sorbara said. He added that value-for-money audits are characterized by two principal considerations: whether money was spent without due regard for economy and efficiency; and whether appropriate procedures are in place to measure and report on the effectiveness of the programs. Highlights of the proposed amendments to the Audit Act include: - The Auditor General would be able to conduct discretionary full-scope value-for-money audits of the broader public sector, excluding municipalities, and all Crown-controlled corporations. - Organizations subject to the expanded mandate would be required to provide the Auditor General with information and access to books and records. - The Auditor General would receive the authority to include the results of any examination in the Auditor General's annual report. "Under the Tory government, the Provincial Auditor was prevented from investigating significant amounts of the Ontario budget," Sorbara said. "The McGuinty government is taking government in a new direction by providing the Provincial Auditor the authority to audit all institutions in the broader public sector. This legislation is an essential part of our Democratic Renewal week reforms: we want to improve the way government works for the people of Ontario and the critical public services they rely on their government to deliver." Provincial funds flowing to grant-recipient organizations represent the single most significant demand on the Province's financial resources. About 80 per cent of total government expenditures, excluding interest on debt, is in the form of transfers to broader public sector organizations and individuals. Disponible en fran├žais For more information visit www.gov.on.ca/finFor further information: Contact: Boni Fox Gray, Ministry of Finance, (416) 212-2155; Diane Flanagan, Minister's Office, (416) 212-0634