Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act

The MPP and Public Sector Accountability and Transparency Act, also known as Bill 8, has been in the news a lot. While the bill does not affect the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, it introduces several changes to the accountability framework for the Government of Ontario. The Act received Royal Assent on December 11. Different parts of the Act will be brought into force over time by proclamation. Among other things, the new Act gives the government the authority to establish compensation frameworks for agency executives, requires certain agencies to publish business plans and other documents, requires Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, opposition leaders and their staff to publish expenses, establishes a […]

Getting the Word Out

Have you ever wondered if your volunteer activities might conflict with your day job as a public servant? Our educational videos explore ethical scenarios that public servants may face in their day-to-day work. They depict real-life situations and provide tips on how statutory ethical rules apply in each case. The video linked below is adapted from the original produced jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Enjoy! View Video

“Guilty” of a Conflict of Interest

When discussing a conflict of interest situation or controversy, it may be misleading to use the language of criminal law. Doing so implies that a person with a conflict of interest has necessarily acted improperly. Sometimes, individuals entangled in a conflict of interest or other ethics matter, after an investigation has taken place, may express relief at being “exonerated”, or found “not guilty”. Or, individuals may express frustration at being “accused” of being conflicted. It is true that a found conflict could involve elements of wrongdoing, but it is not unusual for a person to be conflicted without having acted improperly. In a complex society, conflicts of interests are inevitable. […]

Ethical Leadership

As Conflict of Interest Commissioner for the Province of Ontario, my concern is the ethical conduct of public servants. I have a specific role with respect to the chairs of designated agencies and some designated agency senior managers, for whom I am the ethics executive. I am also the ethics executive for many former public servants and for the Secretary of Cabinet. The ethics executive is responsible for ensuring compliance with rules for ethical conduct. In Ontario, however, the system of public service ethics oversight is a shared responsibility. Agency chairs and senior managers are themselves ethics executives for their own organizations. Deputy ministers are ethics executives for their ministries. […]

Prizewinner

As a public servant, have you ever wondered if you can accept a gift from a vendor? Our educational videos explore ethical scenarios that public servants may face in their day-to-day work. They depict real-life situations and provide tips on how ethical rules apply in each case. The video linked below is adapted from the original produced jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Enjoy! View Video

In the know

Our educational videos explore ethical scenarios that public servants may face in their day-to-day work. They depict real-life situations and provide tips on how statutory ethical rules apply in each case. The video linked below is adapted from the original produced jointly by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. Enjoy! View Video

Welcome…

Welcome to our newly redesigned website. We have incorporated lessons learned over the years from both regular and infrequent visitors. Take a look and let us know what you think.

An Ethical Compass

Welcome to my first blog. This forum is new for me. Not long ago, if a person wanted to add their voice to a matter of public discourse the only way to do so was to write (and publish) a letter to the editor of a  newspaper. I’ve done that from time-to-time over the years. However, today I am looking forward to engaging with you through this periodic blog. I intend to share my thoughts on ethical issues that are, or should be, of interest and concern to all of us as public servants and encourage you to submit your comments and feedback as well. Also, please feel free to […]

Goar on Ethics

Noted Toronto Star columnist Carol Goar writes about what she perceives as a decline in ethical standards among senior elected officials. We often think of ethics in terms of the infraction of explicit rules or codes. Goar talks about standards of integrity and behaviour and personal accountability, also important considerations when discussing ethics in politics and government.