The Role of the Integrity Commissioner relating to the Cabinet Ministers' and Opposition Leaders' Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002
The Cabinet Ministers' and Opposition Leaders' Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 (the Act) received Royal Assent on December 13, 2002 and authorizes the Integrity Commissioner to review Travel, Meal, Hospitality, Hotel (and similar types of accommodation) expenses of Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Opposition Leaders and people employed in their offices in order to determine whether those expenses are, in the Integrity Commissioner's opinion, allowable expenses under the Act.
For Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants and their staff, Travel, Meal, Hospitality, Hotel (and similar types of accommodation) “reviewable expenses” incurred in the performance of a ministerial/parliamentary assistant duty or function are reviewable if a claim was made for payment of the expense out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. For Opposition Leaders and their staff, expenses incurred for Travel, Meal, Hospitality, Hotel (and similar types of accommodation) are reviewable if a claim was made for payment of the expense out of the Legislative Assembly Fund. A claim for payment pertaining to caucus-related or constituency work as a member of the Assembly is not governed by this Act.
An expense is an “allowable expense” if it is reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances and if it meets the standards set out in the applicable rules. The Rules Governing the Expenses of Cabinet Ministers, Opposition Leaders and other persons (the Rules) were established by Order-in-Council under section 5 of the Act and took effect as of January 1, 2003.
Ministers or Executive Assistants/Chiefs of Staff, where delegated by the Minister, are responsible for approving expenses, ensuring compliance with the Rules. Opposition Leaders are responsible for designating a senior person in their office to approve expenses to ensure adherence to the Rules.
The Integrity Commissioner provides advice on compliance with the Rules and can request further information in relation to a claim, initiate an inquiry, order repayment or recommend other remedial action if, in the Integrity Commissioner’s opinion, an expense is not allowable.
An Annual Report is tabled with the Speaker with respect to the review of expenses for Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Opposition Leaders and their staff during the previous fiscal year and can include the names of those who fail to comply with the Commissioner’s direction.