Premier's Letter To The Ontario Public Service
New Accountability Measures To Protect Taxpayers
I often say that the Ontario Public Service is second to none.
Whether measured in international awards or, more importantly, in the quality of the services delivered to Ontarians, there is no public service that is more professional, more dedicated and more driven to achieve excellence on behalf of the people they serve. That's true of the OPS and of the people who serve on our arm's length agencies, boards and commissions.
Together we have delivered shorter wait times, better access to doctors, smaller class sizes, higher test scores and peace and stability in our schools.
Right now, as Ontario faces the challenge of a global recession, our shared priority is helping to build the strong economy and create the jobs that support our public services and our quality of life. Right now, some of our families are struggling, and you and I need to do what we can to provide them with opportunity.
That's why it's more important than ever to ensure that we all take responsibility for tax dollars. Every tax dollar counts -- particularly at a time when some have lost their jobs, and government is hard at work helping to put people to work.
Recently, inappropriate spending practices were uncovered at two of Ontario's agencies. And while the vast majority of public servants follow the rules scrupulously, and work hard to protect tax dollars, some do not. For the sake of Ontario families, this must change.
That's why we are taking new steps to ensure that each of us understands and follows the rules regarding expenses.
First, we have simplified the rules on expenses. These simplified rules are shorter, clearer and posted online for all to see.
Second, all OPS employees and employees at our largest agencies will receive online, mandatory training on expense claims. This will ensure that every person working in the OPS and at our largest agencies knows what is appropriate -- and what is an inappropriate use of taxpayers' money.
Third, expenses for OPS senior management, cabinet ministers, political staff and senior executives at Ontario's 22 largest agencies will be posted online. This will start no later than April 1, 2010.
Finally, we will increase the number of random audits of expenses to ensure rules are being followed. And during annual audits of Ontario's agencies, boards and commissions, external auditors will be required to look at expense practices to ensure rules are followed and controls are in place.
In the past, Ontario's public servants have always answered the call. Through depressions and recessions, world wars and natural disasters, Ontario's public servants have always stood strong, and stood up for the public interest.
In these globally challenging times, more is being demanded of all of us, once again. And I have no doubt that, once again, each of us will rise to the challenge.