During the last week of the Legislature Randy introduced a Private Members Bill, the Public Accountability and Lobbyist Transparency Act, 2019, which, if passed, will provide a much more robust framework to ensure elected members and public servants act in a fashion more in keeping with our expectations, and to limit the undue influence that some lobbyists have over government.
You can read the summary below:
The Legislative Assembly Act, 1990 is amended to stiffen penalties for violations of the Act, and under certain circumstances, require the Speaker to report a complaint to the Commissioner of the OPP or the Canadian Director of Public Prosecutions, where appropriate.
Currently there is no prescribed or defined process for the Assembly to investigate a breach of the Act.
The Lobbyist Registration Act, 1998 is amended to incorporate similar requirements within the Federal Lobbyist Registration Act such as the requirement for more timely and detailed reporting by lobbyists and representatives of lobbyists firms of their meetings with members of the Executive Council and further requires members of the Executive Council to also report meetings with lobbyists. It also permits Members of the Assembly who have reasonable and probable grounds that a person has violated the Act to request the registrar investigate the complaint. Finally, penalties for violating the Act are increased.
The Members Integrity Act, 1994 is amended to allow any individual to file a complaint with the Integrity Commissioner should they feel there is reasonable and probable grounds that a Member has violated the Act; an inquiry may be conducted by the Commissioner, with a report provided to the House. It also compels the Government House Leader bring the report to the House for response. Currently only MPP’s may request the Integrity Commissioner to investigate a potential violation of the Act and no consequences exist if the government does not act upon the report.
The Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 is amended to allow any individual to make a disclosure of wrongdoing to the Integrity Commissioner, who may then investigate and make a report.
Currently only another member of the Public Service may request an investigation into potential wrongdoing. Furthermore, the outcome of the investigation is not made public and there is no penalty or punitive action available that can be administered.
The Act protects or maintains protection for whistleblowers and provides the Commissioners the discretion to reject complaints that are without merit.