Ontario Commits to Greater Accountability
The Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 includes a wide range of measures that will strengthen accountability, increase oversight across the government and reform executive compensation in the broader public sector.
Reforming Executive Compensation
- The Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014,which is part of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, will authorize the government to establish compensation frameworks, including sector-specific hard caps for designated executives in broader public sector organizations.
- Changes to executive compensation will apply to designated employers including hospitals, community care access centres, universities, colleges, school boards, hydro entities, and other broader public sector organizations such as Ornge, LHINs, eHealth, Metrolinx, OLG and the LCBO.
- All new hires and existing executives who change positions but remain designated executives would be subject to compensation frameworks. In addition, the act will ensure that existing executives are fully subject to all elements of an applicable compensation framework upon expiry of a three-year transition period.
- Amendments to the Cabinet Ministers' and Opposition Leaders' Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 will require that expense information for the individuals covered by the act be publicly posted online.
- Amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act will require the Speaker to post online MPP expense information for out-of-riding travel, hotel accommodation related to that travel, meals and hospitality. The rules respecting those expenses will also be required to be posted online.
- Broader public sector organizations will be required to publish their business plans and other relevant financial documentation.
- The legislation includes amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) that respond to recommendations made by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, including:
- Requiring institutions subject to FIPPA and MFIPPA to ensure that reasonable measures to preserve records are developed, documented and put into place in accordance with recordkeeping rules and legislation.
- Making it an offence to alter, conceal or destroy records with intent to deny an access request, with a penalty of up to $5,000.
- Amendments to the Ambulance Act will 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 will be expanded to include municipalities, school boards, and publicly-funded universities. Complaints made to the Toronto Ombudsman will be exempt from the Ontario Ombudsman's jurisdiction. However, the Ontario Ombudsman could still include Toronto, along with any other municipality, in a systemic, broad-ranging investigation.
- The role of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth will be expanded to allow the Advocate to initiate and conduct investigations into services provided by children's aid societies and certain residential licensees where a children's aid society is the placing agency.
- A Patient Ombudsman will be established to resolve complaints about public hospitals, long-term care homes and community care access centres. The Patient Ombudsman will have the power to respond to complaints and initiate investigations.
- The Integrity Commissioner will have the ability to review travel, meal and hospitality expenses of all 196 classified agencies and the four hydro organizations on a selective or rotating basis. Prior to the passage of this legislation, the Commissioner had authority to review the expenses of appointees and senior executives in 17 classified agencies and the four hydro organizations.
- Lobbyist registration will be modernized by requiring businesses and organizations to register when their staff spend at least 50 hours per year lobbying government. The act will also provide the Lobbyist Registrar (the Integrity Commissioner), with investigative powers and the ability to impose penalties, including prohibiting individuals from lobbying for up to two years. Enforcement provisions include stiffer fines of up to $100,000.