The Government of Ontario announced on March 6, 2014 that it will introduce legislation to strengthen the accountability and increase the transparency of the Broader Public Sector, including school boards.
Although the legislation has not yet been introduced, according to the Government some of the key points will include:
• authorizing the Government to implement compensation frameworks, including maximum compensation levels, for senior executives in the Broader Public Sector (“BPS”);
• allowing the Ontario Integrity Commissioner to review executive expenses in selected organizations;
• requiring the publishing of business plans and other documents by BPS organizations;
• extending the role of the Ontario Ombudsman to include school boards; and
• amending the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to ensure that school boards, and other BPS organizations that are subject to the legislation, properly preserve records, the deliberate failure of which would be subject to an offence under the Act.
Apparently, there will also be non-legislative measures, presumably by regulation, which will require appointees of the Government and senior executives in certain classified agencies to post expense information online.
School boards will be aware that the Ontario Ombudsman has been advocating for the expansion of his mandate to have it include school boards, despite the accountability that elections every four years creates. Such a change could have significant cost consequences for school boards.
We will continue to monitor the introduction and progress of this legislation and will provide updates.