According to details released this morning, the legislation would, if
Extend the role of the Ontario Ombudsman to include
municipalities, school boards and publicly funded universities
Establish a Patient Ombudsman to assist patients in
resolving complaints against public hospitals, Long-Term Care Homes and
Community Care Access Centres
Give 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
Amend the Lobbyists Registration Act to improve reporting
requirements for lobbyists, address conflicts of interest and increase
fines for offences.
Last November, New Tecumseth retained the services of John Mascarin of
Aird and Berlis to act as the Town's Integrity Commissioner to deal
with complaints about council or municipal staff. How the
provincial legislation will impact on that position in New Tecumseth,
whether it makes Mr. Mascarin's role redundant, is not clear at this
time. The Ombudsman does not charge a fee to investigate complaints,
while Mr. Mascarin's fee is $550 per hour.
The Association of Municipalties of Ontario (AMO) in a "breaking news"
release noted its approval for the objective the legislation proposes,
but opposes the provincial intrusion, and "rejects the Wynne
Government's vision of how best to achieve it."
"The Ontario Government would layer Provincial oversight and new
administrative processes on municipal government. It represents
duplication and inefficiency, and importantly, it suggests that Wynne's
Government does not trust in the capacity of municipal government to
expose and address questions about performance and integrity,"
according to AMO. "Assigning oversight authority to the Office of the
Ontario Ombudsman, a provincial appointee who is based at Queen's Park
and who reports to Ontario's Legislature, has the effect of
transferring local municipal accountability to the Province. AMO is
curious to see whether the opposition Conservatives and New Democrats
will support that, or reject the invitation to micromanage municipal
The legislative changes also target MPPs, including:
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
broader public service (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
Post Cabinet Ministers' attendance records at Question
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.
There is no timeline attached to the government's announcement, which,
as a minority in the legislature, requires opposition votes to approve