Integrity Commissioner To Explore The Role of Political Staff

Integrity Commissioner Lynn Morrison is launching a consultation to explore the evolving role of political staff.

“The guidelines for political activity are unclear. I believe it is time to generate discussion about the roles and responsibilities for these people who work in cabinet ministers’ offices and for backbench MPPs. As part of this work I will be reaching out to current and former parliamentarians, staff and members of the public service to hear their views,” the Commissioner said.

Commissioner Morrison explained the consultation in a commentary piece published today in the Toronto Star.

“In my experience over the past 25 years, I can say that there is no uniform understanding of what the rules should be for how these people go about their work.

“Culturally, we do not expect our politicians to lose their political stripes once they are elected. Yet it is a common cry from the opposition benches and the public that a certain government action was “political”. For that matter, so is opposition action – and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

“So if the lines are blurred when we try to determine whether a politician’s actions are serving the people or serving the party, then surely they are just as fuzzy for staffers.”

Work on the consultation is to take place over the coming months.

About the OIC

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner has five key responsibilities:
- Members’ Integrity
- Public service disclosure of wrongdoing (whistle-blowing)
- Expenses review for Cabinet Ministers, Opposition Leaders, and 21 of Ontario’s largest agencies
- Ministers’ staff ethical conduct
- Lobbyists registration

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

Ce communiqué est également disponible en français.

Cathryn Motherwell, Director
Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario