August 1, 2018
The Office of the Integrity Commissioner has updated the list of agencies, boards and commissions for which it reviews travel, meal and hospitality expenses. The new agencies are: Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Province of Ontario Council for the Arts (Ontario Arts Council), and the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). They will be required to provide expense documentation to the Office for appointees, designated senior staff, and the top five expense claimers beginning in September.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, Metrolinx and Cancer Care Ontario are no longer required to submit expenses for review.
“I am pleased to see a strong record of compliance from these agencies,” said Integrity Commissioner, the Honourable J. David Wake. He noted that expenses from the three agencies have been subject to review since 2009. “Senior officers from these agencies have told me they believe this scrutiny has assisted them in reinforcing the principle of prudent use of taxpayer dollars.”
The Office reviews agency expenses under the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009, which established a list of 22 entities subject to review. The Act was amended in 2016 to provide the Commissioner with discretion to remove entities from the review requirement once they demonstrated continued compliance with the Ontario Travel, Meals and Hospitality Directive. These entities can be replaced by any on the list of Ontario public bodies.
The Office reviews expenses after the claims have been reimbursed. The Commissioner conducts a line-by-line audit of each claim, seeks additional information, and may request repayment if he finds that a claim does not meet the requirements of the Directive. Each agency is responsible for posting their expenses online once they have received notification that the review of their quarterly submission has been completed.
The Office also reviews the expenses of Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, Opposition leaders and their staff under the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002.
About the OIC
The Office of the Integrity Commissioner has six key responsibilities:
- Members’ Integrity, providing confidential conflict of interest advice to MPPs;
- Ministers’ Staff Ethical Conduct, providing conflict of interest advice to more than 400 members of Ministers’ staff;
- Lobbyists registration, operating Ontario’s lobbyist registry and conducting investigations into matters of potential non-compliance;
- Disclosure of wrongdoing, receiving whistle-blowing complaints from current and former members of the Ontario Public Service;
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of Cabinet Ministers, opposition leaders; and
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of selected public entities.
An Officer of the Legislative Assembly, the Integrity Commissioner is independent of government.
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Office of the Integrity Commissioner