Open and Transparent Government will Build Ontario Up
The proposed Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014
The proposed Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 includes a wide range of measures that would, if passed, strengthen accountability, oversight and transparency across government and the broader public sector.
- Amendments to the Cabinet Ministers' and Oppositions Leaders' Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 would require that expense information for the individuals covered by the act be publicly posted online within 90 days of being notified by the Integrity Commissioner that they are allowable expenses.
- Amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act would require the Speaker to post online detailed MPP expense information for out-of-riding travel, hotel accommodation related to that travel, meals and hospitality. The proposed amendments would also require that the rules respecting those expenses be posted online.
- Amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act would respond to the Information and Privacy Commissioner's recommendations, including:
- Requiring that institutions have measures in place to securely preserve records
- Prohibiting the wilful destruction of records with the intent to deny a request for access
- Making it an offence to wilfully destroy records with the intent to deny a request for access. The offence would carry fines up to $5,000.
- Amendments to the Ambulance Act would provide greater oversight of air ambulance service providers, by enabling the government to:
- Appoint supervisors and special investigators
- Protect whistleblowers who disclose information to an inspector, special investigator or the government
- Appoint provincial representatives to a board of directors
- Set terms in a performance agreement with air ambulance service providers at any time, by regulation.
- The role of the Ontario Ombudsman would be expanded to include municipalities, school boards, and publicly-assisted universities. If passed, this bill would give the Ombudsman the authority to investigate complaints only after local processes have been completed.
- The role of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth would be expanded to allow the Advocate to initiate and conduct investigations into matters relating to children and youth who are involved with a children's aid society.
- A Patient Ombudsman would be established to help patients resolve complaints against public hospitals, long-term care homes and community care access centres. The Patient Ombudsman would have the power to respond to complaints and initiate investigations.
- The Integrity Commissioner would be given the ability to review travel, meal and hospitality expenses of all 197 classified agencies on a selective or rotating basis. Currently, the Commissioner has authority to review the expenses of appointees and senior executives in 17 classified agencies and the four hydro organizations.
- The Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 would be amended to:
- Give new powers to the Registrar, including investigating alleged violations, providing guidance and direction on lobbyist conduct, and prohibiting lobbying for up to two years
- Establish new rules for lobbyists:
- Prohibiting lobbyists from lobbying and providing paid advice on the same subject matter at the same time
- Establishing a single set of rules that apply to both for-profit and not-for-profit entities
- Prohibiting lobbyists from accepting fees that depend on a particular lobbying outcome
- Increase the maximum fine upon conviction of an offence to $25,000 for a first offence, and $100,000 for subsequent offences.
- The proposed act would authorize the government to establish compensation frameworks, including sector-specific hard caps for senior executives in the broader public sector. The legislation, if passed, would authorize the government to obtain all compensation-related information, including contracts. Compliance and enforcement measures would:
- Require heads of organizations to confirm compliance with the compensation frameworks
- Require designated employers to repay any amount in excess of what is authorized under the act as a debt to the Crown
- Give the government the ability to conduct audits to verify compliance with the compensation frameworks.
- Amendments to the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 would require designated broader public sector organizations to publish their business plans and other relevant financial documentation.