Office of the Integrity Commissioner Merges with the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner

May 1, 2019

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner marks a new milestone today as it merges with the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. 

The Office has collaborated with the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner on many issues over the years, including joint training for senior officials of public bodies and providing input to government officials on updating ethical rules. This merger of two important ethics mandates is approached with a vision to establishing a centre of excellence for ethics in Ontario’s public sector.

“This is an exciting day as we combine our two offices,” said Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake. “There is great synergy among both our responsibilities and the merger will allow us to build on our strengths, make maximum use of resources, and focus on building the Office as a centre of excellence in public sector ethics.

“I congratulate Sidney B. Linden, Ontario’s first-and-only Conflict of Interest Commissioner on his retirement. He and his staff have served Ontario public servants with distinction, providing them advice and education to help them fulfil their ethical obligations.”

The responsibilities moving to the OIC include:

- handling requests for advice or determinations from Ethics Executives (deputy ministers, chairs of public bodies, and other designated individuals) on matters related to the Conflict of Interest Rules and the political activity restrictions in the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006;
- receiving financial declarations from public servants working on matters that involve the private sector;
- considering requests from part-time appointees of public bodies who wish to participate in political activities other than those expressly permitted in the Act;
- serving as the Ethics Executive for certain public servants, including the Secretary of the Cabinet; and,
- approving the conflict of interest rules of public bodies and the ethics plans of administrative tribunals.

Staff at the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner have joined the OIC. The Office will continue the work to explain, provide advice on, and encourage compliance with the existing ethical rules and legislation in all mandates in order to strengthen trust and confidence in the work of the Ontario government. 

The merger is the result of the passing of the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018 last December.

The Office has seven mandates under five pieces of legislation:
- Members’ Integrity, providing confidential conflict of interest advice to MPPs;
- Ministers’ Staff Ethical Conduct, providing conflict of interest advice to public servants in ministers’ offices;
- Lobbyists registration, operating Ontario’s lobbyist registry and conducting investigations into matters of potential non-compliance;
- Disclosure of wrongdoing, receiving whistleblowing disclosures from current and former members of the Ontario Public Service;
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of Cabinet Ministers, parliamentary assistants opposition leaders and their staff;
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of selected agencies; and,
- Public Sector Ethics, providing conflict of interest advice and direction to a broad range of public servants.

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Contact:
Michelle Renaud, Senior Advisor, Policy and Outreach
416-314-8983
michelle.renaud@oico.on.ca

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