Strengthening Accountability and Increasing Transparency
Thursday, March 6, 2014
The Ontario government will introduce a comprehensive piece of legislation that, if passed, would strengthen political accountability, enhance oversight, and increase transparency across government and the Broader Public Sector (BPS).
The proposed legislation would build on the province's Open Government initiative. The legislation would, if passed, strengthen government accountability by:
- Extending the role of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities, school boards and publicly funded universities
- Establishing a Patient Ombudsman to assist patients in resolving complaints against public hospitals, Long-Term Care Homes and Community Care Access Centres
- Giving the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth new powers, like those of the Ontario Ombudsman, to investigate matters relating to children and youth involved in the child protection system
- Amending the Lobbyists Registration Act to improve reporting requirements for lobbyists, address conflicts of interest and increase fines for offences.
The proposed legislation would also enhance government accountability by:
- Requiring expense information for MPPs to be posted online for out-of-riding travel, hotels, meals and hospitality
- Requiring expense information for Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Opposition Leaders, and their respective staff to be posted online
- Amending the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to require all organizations under the act to securely preserve their records.
Finally, it would increase transparency in classified agencies and the BPS by:
- Authorizing the government to set compensation frameworks for senior executives in the BPS, including hard caps
- Providing the Ontario Integrity Commissioner with the ability to review executive expenses in selected organizations to all 197 classified agencies and four hydro entities
- Requiring BPS organizations to publish their business plans and other documents online.
In addition, the province would also implement the following non-legislative measures:
- Post Cabinet Ministers' attendance records at Question Period
- Seek consent from opposition House Leaders to improve how MPP voting records are posted online
- Require all appointees and senior executives in classified agencies to post their expense information online.
Setting a high standard for accountability and transparency is part of the government's plan to make it more open and accountable to the people of Ontario.
Read about Ontario’s Open Government initiative