Leading an Open and Accountable Government
Re-Introducing Accountability Legislation a Priority for the Province
Today, the Ontario government will re-introduce the proposed Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014, and move forward with the Premier's commitment to lead the most open and transparent government in the country.
As per last week's Speech from the Throne, if passed, this bill would help in strengthening accountability, oversight and transparency across government and the broader public sector.
The proposed bill includes a wide range of measures that would:
- Enable the government to directly control compensation of senior executives in the broader public sector by establishing sector-specific hard caps and enforcement measures to ensure compliance.
- Expand the Ontario Ombudsman's role to include municipalities, school boards and universities.
- Require expense information to be posted online for cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, opposition leaders, their respective staff, and all MPPs. By making this voluntary practice law, Ontario would become a leader in expense reporting for elected representatives.
- Require all institutions covered by provincial and municipal freedom of information legislation to securely preserve and prohibit the wilful destruction of records. An offence with a fine of up to $5,000 would be introduced to enforce this requirement.
- Give the government greater oversight of air ambulance service providers by allowing it to appoint supervisors and special investigators, protect whistleblowers, and appoint provincial representatives to a board of directors.
- Allow the government to appoint a Patient Ombudsman to respond to complaints about public hospitals, long-term care homes, and community care access centres.
- Give the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth ombudsman-like powers to investigate matters relating to children and youth who are involved with a children's aid society.
- Expand the scope of the Integrity Commissioner's review of executive expenses to all 197 classified agencies and four hydro organizations.
- Provide the Integrity Commissioner with investigative powers, including the ability to prohibit individuals from lobbying. Enforcement provisions would include stiffer fines of up to $100,000.
The proposed act builds on the Premier's commitment to reintroduce bills from the last legislative session and make government work for Ontarians.
- As Ontario’s new President of Treasury Board, Minister Deb Matthews is leading the government’s efforts on accountability, openness and modernization.
- This legislation would, if passed, help ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and support the government’s firm commitment to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.
- The Ontario Ombudsman currently has authority to investigate all government ministries, Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions, tribunals and colleges.
- The Ontario Integrity Commissioner currently has the authority to review executive expense claims from 17 classified agencies and the four hydro organizations.
“Our goal is to build Ontario up. That starts with leading an open and transparent government that is accountable to the people it serves. By making this legislation a priority, our government is moving forward with our commitment to lead the most open and transparent government in Canada.”