Annual Report 2016-2017

Commissioner's Message

This is my second annual report, following my first full year as Integrity Commissioner. The past year has been very busy. The Office has experienced increased activity in all of its six mandates, and in most of those mandates the increase has been significant. The staff for the Office has increased in anticipation of the growth in the mandates, but that growth, as set out below, has exceeded expectations to the point where the Office will undoubtedly require additional resources soon so it can continue to meet its responsibilities in a timely and effective manner.

In August I was invited to appear before the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on General Government as it considered Bill 201, An Act to amend the Election Finances Act and the Taxation Act, 2007 (after the legislature was prorogued in September, the Bill was reintroduced as Bill 2, which was enacted in December). The bill, which dealt with political fundraising, seemed at first glance to have little to do with any of the Office’s mandates. However, I was able to point to three of my mandates which could be affected by the changes being proposed. Those mandates are: Members’ Integrity, Ministers’ Staff, and Lobbyists Registration. Each of these deals with the concept of conflict of interest; although, as I explained to the committee, my jurisdiction to deal with alleged conflicts is different in each of the mandates’ governing statutes. Nevertheless, I offered the opinion that there is a sliding scale between the amount of money that can be contributed to political fundraising and the degree of risk of there being a conflict of interest — the more money provided, the greater the risk that decisions may be influenced by those contributions.

During the past year I have frequently received invitations to speak about the role of the Integrity Commissioner and ethics generally. I have spoken to such groups as university and college classes, lobbyist associations, the Institute for Public Administration of Canada, the Council of Deputy Ministers and foreign delegations. I am always pleased to accept these invitations because, as I said in my first annual report, education and outreach have been important facets of the Office’s operations through the years and I am delighted to continue this work.

In October I was asked to stand in for fellow legislative officer Stephen LeClair, who was on medical leave from his position as Financial Accountability Officer. I served as Temporary Financial Accountability Officer until Mr. LeClair’s return. I enjoyed working with the very qualified team assembled at the FAO. Together we managed to continue the important work of the FAO for the benefit of all members of the legislature during this difficult period while Mr. LeClair was absent. Although the added duties were time-consuming, I am pleased to have been of some service.

See the rest of my message here


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