Integrity Commissioner Lynn Morrison has today released her recommendations for amendments to the disclosure of wrongdoing section of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006. Under the Act, this section is to be reviewed after five years.
“We have learned a great deal from our experiences in receiving disclosures from members of the Ontario Public Service, and have reflected this in our suggestions for change,” Commissioner Morrison said. “Ontario has a unique system, which I believe will benefit from taking additional steps to make it stronger. The key for me is working to build trust among managers and employees.”
Among the Commissioner’s key recommendations:
- That the Commissioner have more discretion to directly investigate a disclosure of wrongdoing. At present, when a matter is first received by the Office the Act requires that it be referred to a senior official in a ministry or public body. Where appropriate, the Commissioner would like to have the discretion to move directly to her own investigation.
- That the Commissioner have the authority to obtain information and records from a ministry or public body, without having to reveal the subject matter of the disclosure to the government. At present, the Commissioner does not have any authority to carry out preliminary inquiries when she assesses a disclosure in its early stages. Providing this authority would permit the Commissioner to complete this work in as fair a manner as possible.
- Require that members of the OPS be provided with annual education to ensure that all public servants are aware of the disclosure of wrongdoing mechanism.
The Commissioner’s recommendations have been provided to the government, and are available at www.oico.on.ca under Disclosure of Wrongdoing. Read the recommendations.
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.
Cathryn Motherwell, Director