Ottawa Conference: “Back to the Future” with the Tait Report

The Ethics Practitioners Association of Canada, the Centre for Ethics and Values at Carleton University and the School of Public Ethics, St Paul’s University, are pleased to announce they are jointly hosting an ethics conference on May 8, 2018, in Ottawa, entitled Ethical Standards, Culture and Leadership: ‘Back to the Future’ with the Tait Report. Using the Tait Report on Values and Ethics in the Public Service as a reference point, the conference will host a wide-ranging discussion that will step back to examine the contributions of the report, assess its impact on the culture and operations of the public service, look at current challenges and try to identify those yet to be faced. […]

Back by Popular Demand – 2nd Biennial Public Sector Ethics Conference

You may recall that our inaugural Public Sector Ethics Conference: Building Trust in Government, was held in Toronto in September, 2016. The goal was to bring a diverse group of professionals together to discuss public sector ethics. I believe it is fair to say, based on the feedback we received, that the event was a great success. As I have noted on many occasions, it is important for those of us who work in this field to discuss the collective challenges and issues that we face. The proceedings of the conference, as well as a short video synopsis, have been published by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC), […]

Sharing Our Stories Easily! – A New Search Tool

In my previous blog, I discussed how our agency routinely publishes summaries of decisions that are novel or interesting in order to assist public servants and ethics executives in consistently interpreting and applying the conflict of interest and political activity rules. These are available in our annual reports and from our internet site. I also discussed an initiative to invite other ethics executives to provide our office with summaries of decisions made by them, so that we could make them available on our internet site together with our own. We had already received 27 decision summaries from various ministry ethics executives, and would soon be reaching out to public bodies (agencies). […]

Sharing Our Stories

It is not uncommon for agencies like ours, that make decisions in specific cases, to prepare and publish summaries of those decisions that are novel or interesting or that illustrate particularly well the statutory rules that the agencies apply. Every year, in our annual report, our office publishes a number of decision summaries. They are not considered binding precedent, but are intended to assist public servants and ethics executives in consistently interpreting and applying the conflict of interest and political activity rules. And these are also made available on our internet site so they can be easily accessed. Needless to say, decision summaries are completely anonymized. Over the years, our […]

Building Trust in Government – Publication of Ethics Conference Proceedings

Our recent public sector ethics conference, entitled “Building Trust in Government”, as discussed in two of my earlier blogs in July and December 2016, was a great success. The goal of the conference was to bring a diverse group of professionals together to discuss public sector ethics, strengthen relationships within the ethics practitioner community, expand our networks and identify potential solutions to common challenges. Feedback from conference participants was overwhelmingly positive, and hopefully the conference was the beginning of what will be an active and ongoing discussion. The conference took place in the shining new Jackman Law Building, re-furbished headquarters of the University of Toronto Law School. The Honourable Hal Jackman, noted […]

Talking and Learning About Ethics

As we near the end of 2016 and look back on the year that was, I think it’s fair to say that public sector ethics issues have been front-and-centre. From scrutiny over senate expenses and the moving expenses of political staff, to the ongoing spotlight on so-called cash-for-access political fundraisers – ethical issues are attracting a lot of public attention these days, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. This makes it even more important for those of us who work in this field to discuss the collective challenges and issues that we face.   Our inaugural Public Sector Ethics Conference: Building Trust in Government held in Toronto on September […]

Guest Blog: Paperless Office

The emergence of digital technology was supposed to reduce the need for paper. Instead, paper has seemed to multiply.  We squeeze it into filing cabinets, pile it on our desks and jam it into drawers. Going paperless might seem like an impossible dream, but recently our office decided to take on that challenge.  The following is a description of what we did and how we did it. -Commissioner Sidney Linden   Having a paperless office does not mean there is no paper. There is always paper. It means that all business records, including case records, are kept in digital form, which is considered the authoritative form of the record. It […]

Public Sector Ethics Conference

It has always been my view that people doing similar work, or with similar responsibilities, should come together to discuss issues and developments of mutual concern, or just to share knowledge, experience, and expertise. It helps to break down “silos”, encourages new ideas and lessons to surface and circulate, fosters the creation of relationships and networks, and promotes consistency in approaches. So organizing a public sector ethics conference has been something we’ve wanted to do for some time. Our objective for this conference is to raise the profile of the subject by bringing together public servants and oversight bodies from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government, practitioners and […]

Ontario’s New Integrity Commissioner

Ontario has a new Integrity Commissioner. The Honourable J. David Wake began his five-year term on February 1. He replaces Lynn Morrison, who was associated with the office since its inception in 1988, and served as Commissioner since 2007. I am proud to say I had a warm and collegial relationship with Lynn, who incidentally was my ethics executive, since the establishment of our office that same year. Lynn was always a willing,  knowledgeable and experienced partner in the field of public service ethics. One of our most valuable collaborations was incorporating Lynn and her counsel into the ethics executive orientation sessions we host periodically, where Lynn discussed whistleblowing  and […]