Today, AMO President Gary McNamara appeared before the Standing Committee on General Government to address Bill 8 (An Act to promote public sector and MPP accountability and transparency by enacting the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014 and amending various Acts).

Those chosen to appear before this Committee were given five minutes to present and ten minutes to answer questions from the all-party membership of the Committee. The Committee completes its nine hours of hearings today. It is set to debate amendments on December 1 and then the Bill is to be reported for Third Reading.

AMO’s comments and recommended amendments focused on how to make the Bill clearer, address the already apparent conflicting interpretations, and deal with overlap and duplication. Good implementation is best informed by good, clear legislation. Highlights of our presentation follow:

  • Recognize the legislative and administrative role that elected councils play;
  • Clarify that complaint investigation is about “fairness in” any decision in the course of administration;
  • Clarify the roles of all the various investigative officers so there is no overlap and clarity of jurisdiction is articulated for all; that the respective processes are clear, especially if the “super” oversight system is not removed;
  • Define “systemic reviews”;
  • Add a better definition of what constitutes a “meeting”;
  • Provide for a transition period for municipal governments so that their budget cycle and other work to implement the Bill can be properly done; and
  • Provide balance and fairness by allowing for questions of jurisdiction to be asked of the courts by not only the Ombudsman, but all parties.
AMO believes that public trust is a shared value, whether a local, provincial or federal order of government.  If a municipal government does not have that trust, it has every reason to earn it, and good government is best served when municipalities meet that goal independently.  

AMO appreciates the efforts of its Working Group, composed of municipal lawyers and senior staff, in reviewing the Bill.  

Watch for the next update on what amendments to this Bill, if any, the Standing Committee approves.
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