Integrity Commissioner Releases 2017-2018 Annual Report

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario today filed its 2017-2018 annual report with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

The report summarizes the activity in all of the Office’s mandates, including anonymized samples of confidential advice provided to Members of Provincial Parliament and ministers’ staff, as well as summaries of disclosure of wrongdoing cases. 

“Our foundational mandate was introduced 30 years ago, and I am gratified to see how much work has been done to support and strengthen ethical principles and behaviour,” said Integrity Commissioner, The Honourable J. David Wake. This is his third annual report.

The Commissioner provides confidential advice to MPPs to assist them in complying with the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994. Each member is required to submit a confidential financial disclosure to the Office, and to meet with the Commissioner each year. “I have enjoyed hearing each member’s compelling personal story of what led them to this form of public service,” the Commissioner says in the report, noting that the number of MPPs will increase in the coming year to 124 from 107.

The Commissioner, as Lobbyist Registrar, received investigative powers under the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 on July 1, 2016. In 2017-2018 the Office identified 283 instances of potential non-compliance under the Act, resolving more than 80 per cent of these matters through initial review or informal resolution. It commenced 23 investigations. Four investigations were concluded, and case summaries are included in the report. 

This year the Office marks 10 years of the disclosure of wrongdoing mandate, and the number of disclosures has remained high. The Commissioner referred eight separate matters for investigation.

In the expenses review mandate, it was determined that two entities would no longer be required to submit their expenses for review (subject to recall) as they had achieved a record of compliance, and two new entities were added to the review roster.

Among the annual report highlights:

• the Office received 292 inquiries from MPPs regarding members’ integrity issues;
• it handled 117 inquiries from ministers’ staff regarding ethical conduct, political activity, and post-employment obligations;
• 49 disclosure of wrongdoing inquiries received;
• staff reviewed 5,369 expense claims; and
• the Lobbyists Registry had 2,120 active lobbyist registrations as of March 31, 2018.

About the OIC

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner has five 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; and,
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of cabinet ministers, opposition leaders, and selected agencies.

An Officer of the Legislative Assembly, the Integrity Commissioner is independent of government.

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Michelle Renaud
Senior Advisor, Policy and Outreach
Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario