Integrity Commissioner Releases 2018 - 2019 Annual Report

The Honourable J. David Wake, Integrity Commissioner, has filed his 2018-2019 annual report with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

The report summarizes the activity 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 the reports issued by the Commissioner when a member complains about the conduct of another member under the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994. Most of the Office’s mandates saw an increase in inquiries or requests for information and advice.

“In the last year the Office effectively handled a record workload,” said Commissioner Wake. “Much of  this increase is the result of the 2018 provincial election which saw 73 new MPPs sworn-in and a complete turnover in ministers’ staff. I am pleased that so many MPPs and their staff have contacted my Office to seek advice on their ethical obligations.”

The lobbyists registration mandate undertook 383 compliance reviews and opened 24 investigations. Summaries of concluded investigations under the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 are available in the report.

In the disclosure of wrongdoing mandate, 15 matters were concluded following an investigation by either a senior official in the public service or by the Commissioner, and seven instances of wrongdoing were identified. Summaries of concluded matters are provided in the report.

Extensive outreach and training occurred in the expense review mandate to ensure that new ministers and their staff became familiar with the expense rules.

The report also provides information about the Office’s May 2019 merger with the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

Among the annual report highlights:
 - the Office responded to 533 inquiries from MPPs regarding the rules under the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994;
 - it handled 220 inquiries from ministers’ staff regarding ethical conduct, political activity and post-employment obligations;
 - it assessed 36 disclosures of wrongdoing and accepted jurisdiction over 14 matters;
 - it concluded 34 investigations into lobbying non-compliance; and,
 - staff reviewed 4,816 expense claims.

About the OIC

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;
 - Lobbyist 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;
 - Public Sector Ethics, providing conflict of interest advice and direction to a broad range of public servants; and,
 - Expenses Review:
     - Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, Opposition leaders, and their staff; and,
     - Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of selected agencies.

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Michelle Renaud
Senior Advisor, Policy and Outreach