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Time to remove the Ontario Liberals to ensure oversight of the MUSH

Ontario Coalition for AccountabilityOntario desperately needs Ombudsman oversight over its MUSH sector, Municipalities, Universities, School Boards, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities, Police, and it’s out of control Children’s Aid Societies.

With Andrea Horwath’s announcement to reject the Liberals budget over countless scandals, we’re now heading in to a provincial election.

Liberals have prevented accountability and Ombudsman oversight every step of the way while ignoring tens of thousands demanding accountability. For any chance of accountability, we must remove the Liberals from power.

So to continue moving forward, we again ask people consider volunteering for those MPP & Candidates supporting oversight and get people voting for change.

MPP’s who do support us.
Ontario MPP’s supporting Ombudsman Oversight of the MUSH sector


Bill 179, Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014

Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

March 24, 2014 – Toronto

The Hon John Milloy, Minister of Government Services introduced his public sector and MPP accountability and transparency Bill today.  While trying to pass the idea of Bill 179 as theirs, others were quick to point out that it’s only been Ontario Liberals preventing all forms of accountability and have no idea what the difference is between transparency and opaqueness. For years, they’ve been the only party to vote down all Bills to expand the Ombudsman’s mandate so it begs the question, what’s their real motive after all these years and why are they still preventing the Ombudsman from overseeing Ontario Hospitals and Children’s Aid Societies?


Current Status: First Reading Carried

Bill 179 2014

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

CONTENTS

1. Contents of this Act

2. Commencement

3. Short title

Schedule 1 – Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014

Schedule 2 – Amendments to the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010

Schedule 3 – Amendments to the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 and Related Amendments

Schedule 4 – Amendments to the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

Schedule 5 – Amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Schedule 6 – Amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act

Schedule 7 – Amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998

Schedule 8 – Amendments to the Ombudsman Act and Related Amendments

Schedule 9 – Amendments to the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007

Schedule 10 – Amendments to the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009

______________

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Contents of this Act

1. This Act consists of this section, sections 2 and 3 and the Schedules to this Act.

Commencement

2. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), this Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Same

(2) The Schedules to this Act come into force as provided in each Schedule.

Same

(3) If a Schedule to this Act provides that any provisions are to come into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor, a proclamation may apply to one or more of those provisions, and proclamations may be issued at different times with respect to any of those provisions.

Short title

3. The short title of this Act is the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014.

Schedule 1
Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014

CONTENTS

Interpretation

1.

Definitions

2.

Purpose

Application

3.

Application to employers

4.

Designated executives

5.

Compensation information

Compensation Frameworks

6.

Compensation frameworks

7.

Effect of frameworks

8.

New hire

9.

Existing employees and office holders

10.

Change of position

11.

Restructuring, etc.

Compliance, Enforcement, etc.

12.

Compliance reports

13.

Audit

14.

Obligation

15.

Overpayments

16.

Offence

17.

Rights not reduced

18.

No constructive dismissal

19.

No expropriation or injurious affection

20.

No cause of action re enactment of Act, etc.

21.

Rights preserved

22.

No compensation

23.

Conflict with this Act

24.

No deemed employment relationship

Miscellaneous

25.

Directives

26.

Regulations

Complementary Amendment

27.

Bill 122 — School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013

28.

Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

Commencement and Short Title

29.

Commencement

30.

Short title

______________

Interpretation

Definitions

1. (1) In this Act,

“cash compensation” means compensation that is the sum of salary and non-discretionary and discretionary payments, including, but not limited to, performance pay, incentive pay, bonuses and allowances; (“rémunération en espèces”)

“compensation” means anything paid or provided, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of a person who performs duties and functions that entitle him or her to be paid, and includes salary, benefits, perquisites and all forms of non-discretionary and discretionary payments; (“rémunération”)

“compensation framework” means a compensation framework established by the regulations under section 6; (“cadre de rémunération”)

“compensation plan” means the provisions, however established, for the determination and administration of a person’s compensation; (“régime de rémunération”)

“designated employer” means an employer to which this Act applies under section 3; (“employeur désigné”)

“designated executive” means an employee or office holder referred to in subsection 4 (1) or (2); (“cadre désigné”)

“directive” means a directive made under this Act; (“directive”)

“Minister” means the minister to whom the administration of this Act is assigned under the Executive Council Act, except in sections 13 and 15, where it means the minister whose ministry funds, oversees or otherwise usually deals with the relevant designated employer; (“ministre”)

“prescribed” means prescribed in the regulations; (“prescrit”)

“regulations” means regulations made under this Act. (“règlements”)

Interpretation re Crown agent

(2) Nothing in this Act makes an organization a Crown agent where that organization would not otherwise be a Crown agent.

Purpose

2. The purpose of this Act is to manage executive compensation in the broader public sector by authorizing the establishment of compensation frameworks applicable to designated employers and designated executives.

Application

Application to employers

3. (1) This Act applies to the following employers:

1. Every hospital within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute/Institut de cardiologie de l’Université d’Ottawa.

2. Every board within the meaning of the Education Act.

3. Every university in Ontario and every college of applied arts and technology and post-secondary institution in Ontario whether or not affiliated with a university, the enrolments of which are counted for purposes of calculating annual operating grants and entitlements.

4. Hydro One Inc. and each of its subsidiaries.

5. Independent Electricity System Operator.

6. Ontario Power Authority.

7. Ontario Power Generation Inc. and each of its subsidiaries.

8. Every community care access corporation within the meaning of the Community Care Access Corporations Act, 2001.

9. Subject to subsection (2), every other authority, board, commission, committee, corporation, council, foundation or organization that may be prescribed for the purposes of this section.

Non-application

(2) This Act does not apply to the following employers:

1. A municipality.

2. A local board as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Municipal Act, 2001.

3. Every authority, board, commission, corporation, office or organization of persons a majority of whose members, directors or officers are appointed or chosen by or under the authority of the council of a municipality.

4. Unless otherwise specifically provided for in the regulations, an organization that undertakes its activities for the purpose of profit to its shareholders.

Designated executives

4. (1) The provisions of this Act applying to designated executives apply to employees and office holders of designated employers who meet both of the following qualifications:

1. The employee or office holder,

i. is the head of the designated employer, regardless of whether the title of the position or office is chief executive officer, president or something else,

ii. is a vice president, chief administrative officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer or chief information officer of the designated employer or holds any other executive position or office with the designated employer, regardless of the title of the position or office, or

iii. is the director of education or a supervisory officer of a designated employer that is a board within the meaning of the Education Act.

2. Under his or her compensation plan, the employee or office holder is entitled to receive or could potentially receive annual cash compensation of $100,000 or more in a calendar year. For the purpose of this paragraph, if the employee or office holder works only a portion of a year, his or her cash compensation for the whole year shall be calculated as if he or she were entitled to receive or could potentially receive cash compensation for the remainder of the year at the same rate or level.

Additional designated executives

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations designating as designated executives other employees and office holders who hold executive positions or offices with one or more designated employers, and where the Lieutenant Governor in Council has done so, the provisions of this Act applying to designated executives also apply to those executives and office holders.

Employer of office holders

(3) A reference in this Act to the employer of an office holder is a reference to the employer to which the office holder is appointed, and the use of this terminology is not intended to create a deemed employment relationship between them for the purposes of this or any other Act or any law.

Exception re collective bargaining

(4) Despite subsections (1) and (2), the provisions of this Act applying to designated executives do not apply to an employee or office holder who is represented by any of the following organizations which represent two or more employees for the purpose of collectively bargaining terms and conditions of employment relating to compensation with their employer:

1. An organization that engages in collective bargaining under the Labour Relations Act, 1995, the Education Act, the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993 or the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008.

2. An organization that, before the date this Act applied to the employer, collectively bargained with the employer terms and conditions of employment relating to compensation that were implemented before that date.

3. An organization that, before the date this Act applied to the employer, had an established procedure for collectively bargaining with the employer terms and conditions of employment relating to compensation.

4. Any other organization provided for in the regulations.

Compensation information

5. (1) The Management Board of Cabinet may issue directives to designated employers requiring the employer to provide information that the Board considers appropriate relating to compensation and any other payments that designated executives and other employees and office holders of the employer may be entitled to.

Same

(2) Without restricting the generality of subsection (1), a directive may include requirements to provide information with respect to,

(a) salaries, salary ranges, benefits, perquisites, discretionary and non-discretionary payments, payments payable on or in connection with termination, performance plans, incentive plans, bonus plans, allowances and any other form of remuneration;

(b) agreements between an employer and one or more employees or office holders relating to anything mentioned in clause (a);

(c) compensation policies, plans, guidelines and programs; and

(d) compensation studies.

Deemed compliance FOI Acts

(3) Any disclosure of personal information made by a designated employer in compliance with a directive shall be deemed to be in compliance with clause 42 (e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and clause 32 (e) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Confidentiality

(4) Where an organization that has provided information described in subsection (1) meets both of the conditions set out in paragraphs 1 and 2, the Minister and any other person or entity in receipt of the information shall maintain the information in confidence, and shall not disclose this information except in accordance with a directive of the Management Board of Cabinet:

1. The organization is not an institution within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

2. The organization,

i. is an organization that undertakes its activities for the purpose of profit to its shareholders, or

ii. is a publicly funded organization that received public funds, within the meaning of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010, of less than $10,000,000 in the previous fiscal year of the Government of Ontario.

Directives

(5) The Management Board of Cabinet may issue directives authorizing the disclosure of information described in subsection (1) to,

(a) a minister of the Crown;

(b) a person employed in the office of a minister;

(c) a person employed under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006; or

(d) a consultant or advisor retained to provide advice or services in relation to compensation matters.

Prevails over FIPPA

(6) Subsections (4) and (5) prevail over the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Compensation Frameworks

Compensation frameworks

6. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations establishing one or more compensation frameworks governing designated employers and designated executives.

Scope of frameworks

(2) Without restricting the generality of subsection (1), regulations under this section may be general or specific in application, and may apply,

(a) to all designated employers and designated executives;

(b) to classes of designated employers and classes of designated executives;

(c) to specific employers and specific designated executives; or

(d) any combination of anybody mentioned in clauses (a) to (c).

Nature of framework

(3) A compensation framework may govern the compensation that may be provided by a designated employer to a designated executive and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, may provide for and limit the compensation and payments and elements of compensation and payments that may be provided to designated executives, including salaries, salary ranges, benefits, perquisites, discretionary and non-discretionary payments, payments payable on or in connection with termination, performance plans, incentive plans, bonus plans, allowances and any other form of remuneration.

Effect of frameworks

When effective

7. (1) A compensation framework applicable to a designated employer and its designated executives is effective as of the date or dates provided for in the regulations, and the regulations may provide for different effective dates for,

(a) different designated employers or classes of designated employers; and

(b) different designated executives or classes of designated executives.

Must comply

(2) Subject to section 9, a designated employer to which a compensation framework applies shall comply with the terms of the compensation framework and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, shall not, with respect to any element of compensation addressed in the framework, provide compensation to a designated executive to whom the compensation framework applies that is greater than that authorized in the framework.

Effect on executive

(3) Subject to section 9, a designated executive to whom a compensation framework applies is not entitled to receive compensation in excess of the amounts authorized in the compensation framework in respect of any element of compensation addressed in the compensation framework.

Effect on agreements

(4) Subject to section 9, any provision in an agreement between a designated employer and a designated executive that authorizes or requires an amount to be paid in excess of the limits set out in the applicable compensation framework is void and unenforceable to the extent of the conflict.

Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010

(5) As of the date that any compensation framework becomes effective with respect to a designated employer to whom Part II.1 of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 would otherwise apply, that Part ceases to apply to that designated employer and its designated executives and to any other employees and office holders of that designated employer.

New hire

8. If a person becomes a designated executive on or after the effective date of the applicable compensation framework, his or her compensation plan must not provide for compensation greater than that authorized under the applicable compensation framework.

Existing employees and office holders

9. (1) Subject to subsection (2), where a person is a designated executive immediately before the effective date of the applicable compensation framework and continues to be employed in the same position or office, whether under the same contract or agreement or through a renewal of an existing contract or agreement, the following applies:

1. Subject to paragraph 2, his or her compensation plan that is in effect immediately before the effective date of the applicable compensation framework remains in effect, even if an element of compensation is greater than that authorized under the applicable compensation framework.

2. Any increase in an element of compensation that is provided for in his or her compensation plan, but that has not been implemented on or before the effective date, is not valid or payable to the extent that it is not in accordance with the applicable compensation framework.

Anti-avoidance

(2) A designated employer shall not provide new or additional compensation to a designated executive to offset any compensation not received as a result of this section.

Change of position

10. If a designated executive employed by or holding an office with a designated employer immediately before the effective date of the applicable compensation framework accepts a new position or office with a designated employer but continues to be a designated executive, his or her new compensation plan must not provide for compensation greater than that authorized under the applicable compensation framework.

Restructuring, etc.

11. A designated employer shall not alter the title of a position or office or carry out any other restructuring or amend any compensation plan applicable to a designated executive,

(a) for the purposes of circumventing any of the parameters or limits set out in a compensation framework; or

(b) so as to result in a compensation framework not applying to one or more designated executives to whom the compensation framework would otherwise have applied, unless the title alteration or other restructuring or change to compensation plan is carried out solely for a bona fide purpose other than to prevent a compensation framework from applying to one or more designated executives.

Compliance, Enforcement, etc.

Compliance reports

12. (1) The Minister may issue directives requiring designated employers to submit reports concerning compliance with compensation frameworks and providing for the information to be contained in such reports.

Signature

(2) Each report must include a statement signed by the designated employer’s highest ranking officer attesting whether the employer has complied with any applicable compensation frameworks.

Audit

13. (1) The Minister may appoint a public accountant licensed under the Public Accounting Act, 2004 to audit the records of a designated employer for the purpose of determining whether the compensation provided to a designated executive complies with the applicable compensation framework.

Co-operation by employer

(2) A designated employer shall co-operate fully with the person performing the audit to facilitate the audit.

No notice to individual required

(3) Subsection 39 (2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and subsection 29 (2) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act do not apply with respect to any personal information disclosed or collected under the authority of an audit.

Results submitted to minister

(4) The auditor shall submit the results of the audit to the Minister within the time specified by the Minister in the appointment.

Obligation

14. Every obligation of a designated employer under this Act is deemed to be an obligation it is required to comply with under the terms of every agreement or other funding arrangement between the designated employer and the Government of Ontario or between the designated employer and an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Overpayments

15. (1) Every payment by a designated employer to a designated executive that exceeds what is authorized under this Act is an overpayment.

Notice of overpayment

(2) The Minister may give a designated employer notice in writing of a determination that an overpayment exists and requiring the designated employer to pay an amount not exceeding the amount of the overpayment to the Crown in the time specified in the notice.

Effect of failure to pay

(3) If a designated employer fails to pay to the Crown the amount set out in the notice within the period specified by the Minister under subsection (2), the amount shall be deemed to be a debt due to the Crown.

Recovery, Minister from designated employer

(4) The Minister may recover the debt to the Crown created by subsection (3) from the designated employer,

(a) by reducing the amount of any future grant or transfer payment from the Crown to the designated employer or the amount payable under any other funding arrangement between the Crown and the designated employer; or

(b) by any remedy or procedure available to the Crown by law to enforce the payment of a debt.

Debt to employer

(5) An overpayment to which this section applies is a debt to the designated employer that made the overpayment from the designated executive to whom it was made, and may be recovered by the designated employer by any remedy or procedure available to it by law to enforce the payment of a debt.

Public to be protected

(6) The designated employer shall endeavour to minimize any impact of the application of this section on its provision of services to the public.

Offence

16. (1) No person who is required under this Act to provide a report, statement or attestation shall,

(a) wilfully fail to provide a report, statement or attestation; or

(b) wilfully make a false report, statement or attestation.

Same

(2) No person shall wilfully obstruct an auditor appointed under section 13 in the performance of his or her audit.

Penalty

(3) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000.

Rights not reduced

17. Nothing in this Act or in its regulations or directives shall be interpreted or applied so as to reduce a right or entitlement under,

(a) the Human Rights Code;

(b) section 42 or 44 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000; or

(c) the Pay Equity Act.

No constructive dismissal

18. (1) An employer shall not be considered to have constructively dismissed an employee under clause 56 (1) (b) or 63 (1) (b) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 or under the common law as a result of having done anything required by this Act or the regulations or as a result of not having done anything prohibited by this Act or the regulations.

Same

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) shall be read as suggesting that an employer’s compliance with the law can be the basis for a finding of constructive dismissal.

No expropriation or injurious affection

19. Nothing done or not done in accordance with this Act or a regulation or directive constitutes an expropriation or injurious affection for the purposes of the Expropriations Act or otherwise at law.

No cause of action re enactment of Act, etc.

20. (1) No cause of action arises against the Crown or any of the Crown’s ministers, agents, appointees and employees or against a designated employer including the employees, officers, directors, members or governing body of a designated employer,

(a) as a direct or indirect result of the enactment or repeal of any provision of this Act;

(b) as a direct or indirect result of the making, amending or revoking of any provision of a regulation or directive; or

(c) as a direct or indirect result of anything done or not done in order to comply with this Act or a regulation or directive.

Same

(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), that subsection applies to an action or other proceeding claiming any remedy or relief, including specific performance, injunction, declaratory relief, any form of compensation or damages, including loss of earnings, loss of revenue and loss of profit or any other remedy or relief.

Proceedings barred

(3) No proceeding, including but not limited to any proceeding in contract, restitution, tort, trust, fiduciary obligation or otherwise, that is directly or indirectly based on or related to anything referred to in clause (1) (a), (b) or (c) may be brought or maintained against the Crown or any of the Crown’s ministers, agents, appointees and employees or against a designated employer including the employees, officers, directors, members or governing body of a designated employer.

Rights preserved

21. Nothing in this Act prevents the Attorney General from bringing an application or commencing proceedings to require a designated employer to comply with this Act or a regulation or directive, or from commencing a prosecution under section 16.

No compensation

22. Despite any other Act or law, no person is entitled to any compensation for any loss or damages, including loss of revenues, loss of profit or loss of expected earnings arising from the enactment or application of this Act or anything done in accordance with this Act, the regulations or directives.

Conflict with this Act

23. (1) This Act prevails over any provision of a compensation plan and, if there is a conflict between this Act and a compensation plan, the compensation plan is inoperative to the extent of the conflict.

Same

(2) This Act prevails over any other Act and over any regulation, by-law or other statutory instrument, and for greater certainty, prevails over subsection 7.17 (2) of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010.

No deemed employment relationship

24. Nothing in this Act changes the status of a designated employer as the employer of designated executives and the implementation of a compensation framework does not create an employment relationship between the Crown and employees or office holders of designated employers or a deemed employment relationship between them for the purposes of this or any other Act or any law.

Miscellaneous

Directives

25. (1) Every designated employer to which a directive under this Act applies shall comply with it.

General or particular

(2) A directive may be general or particular in its application, and may provide for different classes or categories.

Form, manner, timing

(3) A directive may provide for the form and manner in which it is to be complied with, and the time frame within which it is to be complied.

No notice to individual required

(4) Subsection 39 (2) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and subsection 29 (2) of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act do not apply with respect to any personal information disclosed or collected under the authority of a directive.

Public inspection

(5) The Minister shall ensure that the directives are readily available for inspection by the public by posting them on a public website.

Non-application of Legislation Act, 2006, Part III

(6) Part III (Regulations) of the Legislation Act, 2006 does not apply with respect to directives.

Regulations

26. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act.

Same

(2) Without restricting the generality of subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a) providing for any matter that this Act refers to as being provided for, prescribed or specified in the regulations;

(b) defining, for the purposes of this Act and its regulations, any word or expression used in this Act that has not already been expressly defined in this Act.

Complementary Amendment

Bill 122 — School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013

27. (1) This section only applies if Bill 122 (School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013), introduced on October 22, 2013, receives Royal Assent.

(2) References in this section to provisions of Bill 122 are references to those provisions as they were numbered in the first reading version of the Bill.

(3) On the later of the day this section comes into force and the day that subsection 46 (3) of Bill 122 comes into force, paragraph 1 of subsection (4) is amended by striking out “Education Act” and substituting “School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013”.

Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

28. Section 9 of the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(10) A health care organization is exempt from complying with a requirement under this section if complying with that requirement would conflict with the terms of a compensation framework established in the regulations made under the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014.

Commencement and Short Title

Commencement

29. The Act set out in this Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Short title

30. The short title of the Act set out in this Schedule is the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014.

Schedule 2
Amendments to the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010

1. The Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 is amended by adding the following Part:

Part V.1
Business Plans

Directives for designated broader public sector organizations

13.1 (1) The Management Board of Cabinet may issue directives requiring designated broader public sector organizations to prepare and publish business plans and any other business or financial documents that the directives may specify.

Same

(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the directives may,

(a) incorporate by reference a Government of Ontario policy or directive, in whole or in part, as amended from time to time;

(b) specify the form, content and timing of the business plans and other documents; and

(c) specify one or more methods of publishing the business plans and other documents.

Compliance

(3) Every designated broader public sector organization to which the directives apply shall comply with the directives.

Guidelines for publicly funded organizations

13.2 The Management Board of Cabinet may make guidelines with respect to the preparation and publication by publicly funded organizations of business plans and any other business or financial documents that the guidelines may specify.

2. Subsection 14 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “and” at the end of clause (c.1), by adding “and” at the end of clause (d) and by adding the following clause:

(e) compliance with directives issued by the Management Board of Cabinet on the preparation and publication of business plans and other business or financial documents.

3. Subsection 15 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “and” at the end of clause (c.1), by adding “and” at the end of clause (d) and by adding the following clause:

(e) compliance with directives issued by the Management Board of Cabinet on the preparation and publication of business plans and other business or financial documents.

4. Subsection 21 (1) of the Act is amended by adding “V.1” after “IV.1”.

Commencement

5. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 3
Amendments to the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 and Related Amendments

Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002

1. The title of the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 is repealed and the following substituted:

Politicians’ Expenses Review Act, 2002

2. Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“Minister” means the member of the Executive Council to whom responsibility for the administration of this Act is assigned or transferred under the Executive Council Act; (“ministre désigné”)

3. Subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “The Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet” at the beginning and substituting “The Minister”.

4. Subsection 5 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “The Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet” at the beginning and substituting “The Minister”.

5. (1) Subsection 8 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “the Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet” and substituting “the Minister”.

(2) Subsection 8 (4) of the Act is repealed.

6. Sections 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the Act are repealed.

7. The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Public Reporting of Allowable Expenses

Application of ss. 14-16

13. Sections 14 to 16 apply only to reviewable expenses incurred on or after the day this section comes into force.

Commissioner’s notification of allowable expenses to Minister and Speaker

14. The Integrity Commissioner shall, after completing each review under section 9 and any additional review under section 12,

(a) notify the Minister of the expenses included in that review that are claimed by Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants and persons employed in their offices and that are, in the Commissioner’s opinion, allowable expenses; and

(b) notify the Speaker of the expenses included in that review that are claimed by Opposition leaders and persons employed in their offices and that are, in the Commissioner’s opinion, allowable expenses.

Posting allowable expense information on website

Minister

15. (1) Within 90 days after receiving a notification under clause 14 (a), the Minister shall post on a website established or designated by the Minister, and maintained for the purposes of this subsection, the information required under subsection (4) with respect to the expenses included in the notification that, in the Commissioner’s opinion, are allowable expenses.

Speaker

(2) Within 90 days after receiving a notification under clause 14 (b), the Speaker shall post on a website established or designated by the Speaker, and maintained for the purposes of this subsection, the information required under subsection (4) with respect to the expenses included in the notification that, in the Commissioner’s opinion, are allowable expenses.

Same website

(3) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), the Minister and the Speaker may post the information on the same website.

Information required to be posted

(4) Subject to the rules made under section 16, the following information is required to be posted on the applicable website with respect to each expense that, in the Commissioner’s opinion, is an allowable expense:

1. The name and position title of the person who incurred the expense.

2. The date on which the expense was incurred.

3. The type of the expense.

4. The total amount for each type of expense claimed by and paid to the person.

5. The purpose of the expense.

6. The travel destination or other geographic location where or in respect of which the expense was incurred.

7. Any additional information that may be required under rules made under section 16.

Duration of website posting

(5) The Minister and the Speaker shall ensure that the information they post under this section remains accessible to the public on the applicable website for not less than two years.

Authority to make rules re information to be posted

16. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make rules for the purpose of section 15,

(a) specifying additional information to be posted under paragraph 7 of subsection 15 (4);

(b) respecting the information required to be posted under paragraphs 1 to 7 of subsection 15 (4);

(c) governing the posting of information under subsections 15 (1) and (2).

Rules re information not to be posted

(2) The rules made under subsection (1) may provide that specified information that would otherwise be required to be posted under subsection 15 (4) not be posted or be posted in a limited or altered way in specified circumstances.

Public notice

(3) The Minister shall ensure that a copy of the rules made under subsection (1) is available to the public upon request and is posted on the Internet.

Legislation Act, 2006, Part III

(4) Part III (Regulations) of the Legislation Act, 2006 does not apply to rules made under this section.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

8. Subsection 1.1 (3) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Definitions

(3) In this section,

“Opposition leader” has the same meaning as in section 1 of the Politicians’ Expenses Review Act, 2002; (“chef d’un parti de l’opposition”)

“reviewable expense” means a reviewable expense as described in section 3 of the Politicians’ Expenses Review Act, 2002. (“dépense sujette à examen”)

Commencement

Commencement

9. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 4
Amendments to the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

1. Section 1 of the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 is amended by adding the following definitions:

“health sector organization” means

(a) a hospital within the meaning of the Public Hospitals Act,

(b) a community care access corporation within the meaning of the Community Care Access Corporations Act, 2001,

(c) a licensee within the meaning of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, and

(d) any other organization that is provided for in the regulations and that receives public funding; (“organisme du secteur de la santé”)

“local health integration network” means a local health integration network within the meaning of the Local Health System Integration Act, 2006; (“réseau local d’intégration des services de santé”)

“patient ombudsman” means the patient ombudsman appointed under section 13.1; (“ombudsman des patients”)

“personal health information” has the same meaning as in the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004; (“renseignements personnels sur la santé”)

“personal information” has the same meaning as in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; (“renseignements personnels”)

“prescribed” means prescribed in the regulations; (“prescrit”)

2. Subsections 10 (5), (6), (7) and (8) of the Act are repealed.

3. (1) Clause 12 (1) (a) of the Act is amended by striking out “and” at the end of subclause (iii), by adding “and” at the end of subclause (iv) and by adding the following subclause:

(v) the performance of health sector organizations with respect to patient relations;

(2) Subsection 12 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clauses:

(b.1) to promote enhanced patient relations in health sector organizations through the development of,

(i) patient relations performance indicators and benchmarks for health sector organizations, and

(ii) quality improvement supports and resources for health sector organizations with respect to patient relations;

(b.2) to support the patient ombudsman in carrying out his or her functions;

4. The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Patient Ombudsman

Patient ombudsman

13.1 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint a person to be the patient ombudsman.

Functions of the patient ombudsman

(2) The functions of the patient ombudsman are,

(a) to receive and respond to complaints from patients and former patients of a health sector organization, and any other prescribed persons;

(b) to facilitate the resolution of complaints made by patients and former patients of a health sector organization, and any other prescribed persons;

(c) to undertake investigations of complaints made by patients and former patients of a health sector organization, and any other prescribed persons, and to undertake investigations of health sector organizations on the patient ombudsman’s own initiative;

(d) to make recommendations to health sector organizations following the conclusion of investigations; and

(e) to do anything else provided for in the regulations.

Employee of Council

(3) The Council shall employ as the patient ombudsman the person appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and shall terminate that person’s employment as patient ombudsman when the term of the appointment expires, or if the Lieutenant Governor in Council revokes the person’s appointment.

Salary, etc.

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall fix the salary or other remuneration and the benefits, including rights relating to severance, termination, retirement and superannuation, of the patient ombudsman, and the Council shall provide the salary or other remuneration and those benefits to the patient ombudsman.

Delegation

(5) The patient ombudsman may, in writing, delegate any or all of his or her powers to one or more employees of the Council as he or she considers appropriate, and where the patient ombudsman has done so, the acts of the delegate are deemed to be the acts of the patient ombudsman for the purposes of this Act.

Definition

(6) In this section and in sections 13.2 to 13.4,

“patient or former patient” includes,

(a) a patient or former patient of a hospital,

(b) a resident or former resident of a long-term care home,

(c) a client or former client of a community care access corporation,

(d) any other individual provided for in the regulations, and

(e) in respect of an individual mentioned in clause (a), (b), (c) or (d) who is or was incapable with respect to a treatment or another matter, a person with the authority to consent to the treatment or the other matter on behalf of that patient or former patient in accordance with the Health Care Consent Act, 1996.

Complaints

13.2 (1) A patient or a former patient of a health sector organization, and any other prescribed person, may make a complaint in writing to the patient ombudsman about actions or inactions of a health sector organization that relate to the care and health care experience of the patient or former patient, or, in the case of another prescribed person, to the care and health care experience of another person provided for in the regulations.

Facilitated resolution

(2) The patient ombudsman shall work with the patient, former patient or other prescribed person, the health sector organization and, when appropriate, the relevant local health integration network, to attempt to facilitate a resolution of a complaint made under subsection (1) unless, in the opinion of the patient ombudsman,

(a) the complaint relates to a matter that is within the jurisdiction of another person or body or is the subject of a proceeding;

(b) the subject matter of the complaint is trivial;

(c) the complaint is frivolous or vexatious;

(d) the complaint is not made in good faith;

(e) the patient, former patient or other prescribed person has not sought to resolve the complaint directly with the health sector organization; or

(f) the patient, former patient or other prescribed person does not have a sufficient personal interest in the subject matter of the complaint.

Referral to appropriate body

(3) Where the complaint relates to a matter that is within the jurisdiction of another person or body, the patient ombudsman shall refer the patient, former patient or other prescribed person to that person or body.

Patient to be informed

(4) In any case where the patient ombudsman determines that he or she will not attempt to facilitate a resolution of a complaint in accordance with subsection (2), the patient ombudsman shall inform the patient, former patient or other prescribed person in writing of that determination and state the reasons for that determination.

“Proceeding”

(5) For the purposes of this section and section 13.3,

“proceeding” includes a proceeding held in, before or under the rules of a court, a tribunal, a commission, a justice of the peace, a coroner, a committee of a College within the meaning of the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, a committee of the Board of Regents continued under the Drugless Practitioners Act, a committee of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers under the Social Work and Social Service Work Act, 1998, an arbitrator or a mediator.

Investigation

13.3 (1) Where, after attempting to facilitate the resolution of a complaint under section 13.2, the patient ombudsman believes that the complaint should be investigated, the patient ombudsman may investigate the complaint.

May decide not to investigate

(2) Without limiting the generality of the powers conferred on the patient ombudsman by this Act, the patient ombudsman may in his or her discretion decide not to investigate, or, as the case may require, not to further investigate any complaint for any reason for which the patient ombudsman could have determined not to attempt to facilitate the resolution of the complaint under section 13.2.

Patient to be informed

(3) In any case where the patient ombudsman makes a determination not to investigate or further investigate a complaint, the patient ombudsman shall inform the patient, former patient or other prescribed person in writing of that decision and state the reasons for that decision.

Investigations on own initiative

(4) The patient ombudsman may also commence an investigation of the actions or inactions of one or more health sector organizations that relate to the patient care or health care experience provided by the organization or organizations in any case where the patient ombudsman believes that the matter should be investigated.

Restriction

(5) Despite subsection (4), the patient ombudsman shall not commence an investigation under that subsection in connection with a matter that is within the jurisdiction of another person or body or is the subject of a proceeding.

Organization and patient to be informed

(6) Before investigating any matter, the patient ombudsman shall inform the relevant health sector organization and the patient, former patient or other prescribed person, if any, who made the complaint that led to the investigation of his or her intention to make the investigation.

Investigations are private

(7) Every investigation by the patient ombudsman shall be conducted in private.

Exception, other persons and bodies

(8) Despite subsection (7), where the patient ombudsman obtains information in the course of an investigation that relates to a matter within the jurisdiction of another person or body, the patient ombudsman may provide that information to the other person or body.

Obtaining information, etc.

(9) The patient ombudsman may hear or obtain information from any persons he or she thinks fit, and may make any inquiries he or she thinks fit.

Opportunity to be heard

(10) The patient ombudsman is not required to hold any hearing and no person is entitled as of right to be heard by the patient ombudsman, but, if at any time during the course of an investigation, it appears to the patient ombudsman that there may be sufficient grounds for him or her to make any report or recommendation that may adversely affect any person or entity, the patient ombudsman shall give to that person or entity an opportunity to make representations respecting the adverse report or recommendation, either personally or by counsel.

Requiring information

(11) The patient ombudsman may from time to time require any officer, employee, director, shareholder or member of any health sector organization, or any other person who provides services through or on behalf of a health sector organization, who, in his or her opinion, is able to give any information relating to any matter that is being investigated by the patient ombudsman,

(a) to furnish to him or her with the information; and

(b) to produce any documents or things that in the patient ombudsman’s opinion relate to the matter and that may be in the person’s possession or under the person’s control.

Examination under oath

(12) The patient ombudsman may summon before him or her and examine under oath,

(a) any patient, former patient or other prescribed person who has made a complaint under this Act; or

(b) any person who is mentioned in subsection (11).

Certain other Acts

(13) A person who is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 is not prevented by any provisions in those Acts from providing personal information or personal health information to the patient ombudsman, when the patient ombudsman requires the person to provide the information under this section.

Privilege preserved

(14) Every person to whom this section applies has the same privileges in relation to the giving of information, the answering of questions, and the production of documents and things as witnesses have in any court.

Statements not admissible

(15) Except on the trial of any person for an offence in respect of the person’s sworn testimony, no statement made or answer given by that or any other person in the course of any investigation by the patient ombudsman is admissible in evidence against any person in any court or at any inquiry or in any other proceedings, and no evidence in respect of proceedings before the patient ombudsman shall be given against any person.

Right to object to self-incrimination

(16) A person giving a statement or answer in the course of any investigation before the patient ombudsman shall be informed by the patient ombudsman of the right to object to answer any question under section 5 of the Canada Evidence Act.

Protection from liability

(17) No person is liable to prosecution for an offence against any Act, by reason of his or her compliance with any requirement of the patient ombudsman under this section.

Fees, allowances, etc.

(18) Where any person is required by the patient ombudsman to attend before him or her for the purposes of this section, the person is entitled to the same fees, allowances and expenses as if he or she were a witness in the Superior Court of Justice, and the provisions of any relevant Act, regulation or rule apply accordingly, with necessary modification.

Compliance

(19) Every person who is summoned by the patient ombudsman under this section, or is required to furnish or produce documents or information, shall comply with the summons or furnish or produce the documents or information, as the case may be.

Entry

(20) For the purposes of an investigation under this section, the patient ombudsman may at any time enter upon any premises of a health sector organization and inspect the premises.

Restriction

(21) Despite subsection (20), the patient ombudsman shall not enter any premises of a health sector organization, except with the consent of the health sector organization or under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (23).

Private dwellings

(22) Despite subsection (20), the patient ombudsman shall not enter any premises that is being used as a dwelling, except with the consent of the occupier or under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (23).

Warrant

(23) A justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing the patient ombudsman or another person to enter any premises of a health sector organization if the justice is satisfied, on evidence under oath or affirmation, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is necessary to enter the premises for the purposes of an investigation under this section.

Obstruction forbidden

(24) No person shall, without lawful justification or excuse, wilfully obstruct, hinder or resist the patient ombudsman or a delegate of the patient ombudsman in the performance of his or her functions under this Act.

Recommendations

13.4 (1) After making an investigation, the patient ombudsman may make any recommendations to a health sector organization that was the subject of the investigation that the patient ombudsman sees fit.

Copy to patient

(2) Where the patient ombudsman makes recommendations to a health sector organization under subsection (1), the patient ombudsman shall also provide a copy of the recommendations to the patient, former patient or other prescribed person who made the complaint, if any.

Personal information to be removed

(3) The patient ombudsman shall, before providing the copy of recommendations under subsection (2), ensure that all personal information and personal health information about anyone other than the patient, former patient or other prescribed person is redacted.

Reports by patient ombudsman

13.5 (1) The patient ombudsman shall report to the Minister on the activities and recommendations of the patient ombudsman at least annually, and otherwise as the patient ombudsman considers appropriate.

Reports to LHINs

(2) The patient ombudsman shall provide reports to local health integration networks on the activities of the patient ombudsman and his or her recommendations as the patient ombudsman considers appropriate.

No personal information

(3) The patient ombudsman shall not include any personal information or personal health information in any reports made under this section.

Reports to be public

(4) The patient ombudsman shall make the reports under this section available to the public, through publication on the Council’s website and any other means the patient ombudsman may consider appropriate.

Personal health information and the patient ombudsman

13.6 (1) Despite any other Act, the Council may only collect personal health information where the patient ombudsman collects that information in exercising his or her powers under this Act.

Same

(2) Despite any other Act, the Council may only use personal health information for purposes related to the functions of the patient ombudsman.

Disclosure

(3) Despite any other Act, the Council may only disclose personal health information,

(a) for purposes related to the functions of the patient ombudsman; or

(b) where it is required by law or by an agreement or arrangement made under the authority of a statute of Ontario or Canada.

Restriction

(4) In exercising their powers under this Act, the patient ombudsman and the Council shall not collect, use or disclose personal health information if other information will serve the purpose.

Only what is necessary

(5) In exercising their powers under this Act, the patient ombudsman and the Council shall not collect, use or disclose more personal health information than is reasonably necessary for the purpose.

Immunity

13.7 (1) No proceeding shall be commenced against the patient ombudsman, the Council or any employee of the Council for any act done or omitted in good faith in the execution or intended execution of the patient ombudsman’s functions under this Act.

Crown liability

(2) Despite subsections 5 (2) and (4) of the Proceedings Against the Crown Act, subsection (1) does not relieve the Crown of liability for the acts or omissions of an employee referred to in subsection (1) to which it would otherwise be subject and the Crown is liable under that Act as if subsection (1) had not been enacted.

Testimony

(3) Neither the patient ombudsman nor anyone employed by the Council is a competent or compellable witness in a civil proceeding outside this Act in connection with anything done under sections 13.1 to 13.4.

5. Subsection 16 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clauses:

(t.1) providing for additional functions of the patient ombudsman for the purposes of clause 13.1 (2) (e);

(t.2) further defining, specifying or clarifying the meaning of “patient or former patient” and similar expressions for the purposes of sections 13.1 to 13.4;

(t.3) respecting any matter that this Act describes as being prescribed or provided for in the regulations;

Commencement

6. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 5
Amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

1. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is amended by adding the following section:

Measures to ensure preservation of records

10.1 Every head of an institution shall ensure that reasonable measures respecting the records in the custody or under the control of the institution are developed, documented and put into place to preserve the records in accordance with any recordkeeping or records retention requirements, rules or policies, whether established under an Act or otherwise, that apply to the institution.

2. (1) Subsection 61 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(c.1) alter, conceal or destroy a record, or cause any other person to do so, with the intention of denying a right under this Act to access the record or the information contained in the record;

(2) Subsection 61 (3) of the Act is amended by adding “(c.1)” after “(1)”.

(3) Section 61 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Extended limitation for prosecution

(4) A prosecution for an offence under clause (1) (c.1) shall not be commenced more than two years after the day evidence of the offence was discovered.

(4) Section 61 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Protection of information

(5) In a prosecution for an offence under this section, the court may take precautions to avoid the disclosure by the court or any person of any of the following information, including, where appropriate, conducting hearings or parts of hearings in private or sealing all or part of the court files:

1. Information that may be subject to an exemption from disclosure under sections 12 to 21.1.

2. Information to which this Act may not apply under section 65.

3. Information that may be subject to a confidentiality provision in any other Act.

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

3. The Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is amended by adding the following section:

Measures to ensure preservation of records

4.1 Every head of an institution shall ensure that reasonable measures respecting the records in the custody or under the control of the institution are developed, documented and put into place to preserve the records in accordance with any recordkeeping or records retention requirements, rules or policies, whether established under an Act or otherwise, that apply to the institution.

4. (1) Subsection 48 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(c.1) alter, conceal or destroy a record, or cause any other person to do so, with the intention of denying a right under this Act to access the record or the information contained in the record;

(2) Subsection 48 (3) of the Act is amended by adding “(c.1)” after “(1)”.

(3) Section 48 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Extended limitation for prosecution

(4) A prosecution for an offence under clause (1) (c.1) shall not be commenced more than two years after the day evidence of the offence was discovered.

(4) Section 48 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Protection of information

(5) In a prosecution for an offence under this section, the court may take precautions to avoid the disclosure by the court or any person of any of the following information, including, where appropriate, conducting hearings or parts of hearings in private or sealing all or part of the court files:

1. Information that may be subject to an exemption from disclosure under sections 6 to 14.

2. Information to which this Act may not apply under section 52.

3. Information that may be subject to a confidentiality provision in any other Act.

Commencement

Commencement

5. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 6
Amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act

1. Section 67 of the Legislative Assembly Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Posting on website

(13) The Speaker shall post on a website established or designated by the Speaker any amounts, limits, maximums, rules and other information that the Board of Internal Economy determines, prescribes, establishes or authorizes under this section in relation to expenses listed under subsection 68 (1).

Archive

(14) The Speaker shall ensure that an archive of the amounts, limits, maximums, rules and other information posted under subsection (13) is maintained.

Application

(15) Subsections (13) and (14) apply only with respect to amounts, limits, maximums, rules and information that are applicable on or after the day section 1 of Schedule 6 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 comes into force.

2. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Posting certain expense information on website

68. (1) The Speaker shall, in accordance with determinations made by the Board of Internal Economy under subsection (3), post on a website established or designated by the Speaker the information required by subsection (2) with respect to payments made to members under section 67 for,

(a) travel expenses, other than for travel within a member’s electoral district that relates to his or her constituency work;

(b) expenses for hotel accommodation related to travel referred to in clause (a);

(c) meal expenses; and

(d) hospitality expenses.

Information required to be posted

(2) Subject to subsection (4), the following information is required to be posted with respect to each payment for an expense referred to in subsection (1):

1. The name of the member who incurred the expense and of his or her electoral district.

2. The date on which the expense was incurred.

3. The type of expense, with reference to the applicable category of expense listed under subsection (1).

4. The total amount claimed by and paid to the member, for each category of expense listed under subsection (1).

5. The purpose of the expense.

6. The travel destination or other geographic location where or in respect of which the expense was incurred.

Board to determine timing, manner

(3) The timing of the posting of information under subsection (1) and the manner in which the information is presented shall be determined by the Board of Internal Economy.

Information may be excluded

(4) The Board of Internal Economy may exclude information from posting under subsection (1) if the Board is of the view that,

(a) posting the information would likely,

(i) constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy, or

(ii) jeopardize the security of any person, place or thing; or

(b) other circumstances exist that make it necessary or advisable to exclude the information.

Application

(5) This section applies only with respect to payments for expenses incurred on or after the day section 2 of Schedule 6 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 comes into force.

Commencement

3. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 7
Amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998

1. (1) Subsection 1 (1) of the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998 is amended by adding the following definitions:

“chief executive officer” means, with respect to an organization, the individual who holds the most senior executive position in the organization, regardless of the actual title of the position; (“chef de la direction”)

“client” means a person, partnership or organization on whose behalf a consultant lobbyist undertakes to lobby; (“client”)

“consultant lobbyist” means an individual who, for payment, undertakes to lobby on behalf of a client; (“lobbyiste-conseil”)

“payment” means money or anything of value and a contract, promise or agreement to pay money or anything of value; (“paiement”)

(2) The French version of clause (f) of the definition of “public office holder” in subsection 1 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “organismes suivants” in the portion before subclause (i) and substituting “entités suivantes”.

2. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Prohibited Lobbying Activities

Consultant lobbyists and public funds

3.1 No consultant lobbyist shall undertake to lobby on behalf of a client where,

(a) the client is prohibited from engaging a lobbyist to provide lobbyist services using public funds or other revenues under section 4 of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010; and

(b) compensation of the consultant lobbyist is to be paid from public funds or other revenues that the client is prohibited from using under that section.

3. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Consultant lobbyists and contingent payments

3.2 (1) No consultant lobbyist shall undertake to lobby when the payment to the consultant lobbyist is, in whole or in part, contingent on his or her degree of success in lobbying.

Contingent payment provision void

(2) A provision in a contract entered into or renewed on or after the day this section comes into force that provides for a contingent payment to a consultant lobbyist as described in subsection (1) is void.

Same – in existing contracts

(3) If a provision in a contract that is in force on the day this section comes into force provides for a contingent payment to a consultant lobbyist as described in subsection (1), that provision is void as of the first anniversary of the day this section comes into force.

4. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Consultant lobbyists and conflicts of interest

3.3 (1) No consultant lobbyist shall undertake to provide advice on a subject matter to a public office holder for payment where the consultant lobbyist is lobbying any public office holder on the same subject matter.

Same

(2) No consultant lobbyist shall undertake to lobby a public office holder on a subject matter where the consultant lobbyist is under contract with any public officer holder to provide advice on the same subject matter for payment.

5. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Lobbyists placing public office holders in conflict of interest

Consultant lobbyists

3.4 (1) No consultant lobbyist shall, in the course of lobbying a public office holder, knowingly place the public office holder in a position of real or potential conflict of interest as described in subsection (3).

In-house lobbyists

(2) No in-house lobbyist (within the meaning of subsection 5 (7) or 6 (5)) shall, in the course of lobbying a public office holder, knowingly place the public office holder in a position of real or potential conflict of interest as described in subsection (3).

Definition – conflict of interest

(3) A public office holder is in a position of conflict of interest if he or she engages in an activity that is prohibited by section 2, 3 or 4 or subsection 6 (1) of the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994, or that would be so prohibited if the public office holder were a member of the Legislative Assembly.

6. (1) Subsection 4 (3) of the Act is repealed.

(2) Paragraph 1 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

1. The name and business address of the consultant lobbyist and, if applicable, the business name and address of the firm where the consultant lobbyist is engaged in business.

(3) Subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

1.1 Whether the consultant lobbyist was, at any time before the filing of the return,

i. a minister,

ii. a person employed in the office of a minister,

iii. a deputy minister, associate deputy minister or assistant deputy minister, or anyone of equivalent classification,

iv. a chief executive officer or chair of the board of directors of an agency, board or commission of the Crown,

v. a senior employee of an agency, board or commission of the Crown who reports to its chief executive officer,

vi. a chief executive officer or chair of the board of directors of,

A. Hydro One Inc. or a subsidiary of it,

B. Ontario Power Generation Inc. or a subsidiary of it,

C. Ontario Power Authority, or

D. Independent Electricity System Operator, or

vii. a senior employee of an entity listed in subparagraph vi who reports to its chief executive officer.

(4) Paragraph 2 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “The name and business address of the client and the name and business address of any person, partnership or organization” at the beginning and substituting “The business name and address of the client and the business name and address of any person, partnership or organization”.

(5) Paragraph 3 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “the name and business address” and substituting “the business name and address”.

(6) Paragraph 4 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “the name and business address” and substituting “the business name and address”.

(7) Paragraph 5 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

5. If the client is an organization, the business name and address of each partnership, corporation or entity that is part of the organization.

(8) Paragraph 6 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by adding “during that government’s fiscal year that precedes the filing of the return” at the end.

(9) Paragraph 7 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “The name and business address” at the beginning and substituting “The business name and address”.

(10) The French version of paragraph 8 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “l’adresse de l’établissement” and substituting “l’adresse d’affaires”.

(11) Paragraph 9 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

9. The subject matters in respect of which the consultant lobbyist has undertaken to lobby and any prescribed information respecting those subject matters, and the goal of the lobbying.

(12) Paragraph 10 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is repealed.

(13) Paragraph 13 of subsection 4 (4) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

13. Whether the consultant lobbyist has lobbied or expects to lobby a minister in his or her capacity as a minister or a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly in his or her capacity as a member, or a person on the staff of a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly. The information under this paragraph must include the name of the office of the minister, if the minister is being lobbied in his or her capacity as a minister, for example, “the office of the Minister of [insert name of ministry]”, or the name of the office of the member, for example, “the office of the Member for [insert name of riding]”, if the minister or other member is being lobbied in his or her capacity as a member.

(14) Subsection 4 (4) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

16. Any other prescribed information. However, the limitations in paragraphs 7 and 15 also apply to this paragraph.

(15) The French version of subsection 4 (5) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Modification de la déclaration et nouveaux renseignements

(5) Le lobbyiste-conseil communique au registrateur toute modification des renseignements figurant dans sa déclaration, ainsi que tout renseignement devant être fourni aux termes du paragraphe (4) et dont il n’a eu connaissance qu’après le dépôt de celle-ci, dans les 30 jours de la modification ou du moment où il a eu connaissance du renseignement.

(16) Subsection 4 (6) of the Act is amended by striking out “within two months after the expiration of the first and each subsequent year” and substituting “within 30 days either before or after the expiration of the first and each subsequent year”.

(17) The French version of subsection 4 (8) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Renseignements demandés par le registrateur

(8) Le lobbyiste-conseil communique au registrateur les précisions que celui-ci lui demande à l’égard des renseignements qu’il a fournis aux termes du présent article au plus tard 30 jours après que le registrateur en fait la demande.

(18) Subsection 4 (10) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Definition

(10) In this section,

“undertaking” means an undertaking by a consultant lobbyist to lobby on behalf of a client.

7. Section 4.1 of the Act is repealed.

8. (1) Subsections 5 (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

Duty to file return, persons and partnerships

(1) The senior officer of a person or partnership that employs an in-house lobbyist shall file a return with the registrar,

(a) within two months after the day on which that person becomes an in-house lobbyist; and

(b) within 30 days either before or after the expiration of each six-month period after the date of filing the previous return.

Transitional

(2) If, on the coming into force of subsection 8 (1) of Schedule 7 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014, the person or partnership described in subsection (1) employs an in-house lobbyist, the senior officer of the person or partnership shall file a return with the registrar within two months after the day on which subsection 8 (1) of Schedule 7 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 comes into force and after that in accordance with clause (1) (b).

Contents of return

(3) The senior officer of a person or partnership described in subsection (1) shall set out in the return the following information:

1. The name and business address of the senior officer.

2. The business name and address of the person or partnership.

3. If the person is a corporation, the business name and address of each subsidiary of the corporation that, to the knowledge of the senior officer, has a direct interest in the outcome of the lobbying activities of the in-house lobbyists employed by the person.

4. If the person is a corporation that is a subsidiary of any other corporation, the business name and address of that other corporation.

5. A description in summary form of the person’s or partnership’s business or activities and any other prescribed information to identify the person’s or partnership’s business or activities.

6. If the person or partnership is funded, in whole or in part, by a government, the name of the government or government agency, as the case may be, and the amount of funding received by the person or partnership from that government or government agency during that government’s fiscal year that precedes the filing of the return.

7. The business name and address of any entity or organization that, to the knowledge of the senior officer, contributed (during the entity’s or organization’s fiscal year that precedes the filing of the return) $750 or more toward the lobbying activities of the in-house lobbyists employed by the person or partnership. However, this paragraph does not apply with respect to contributions made by a government.

8. The name and business address of any individual who, to the knowledge of the senior officer, made a contribution described in paragraph 7 on behalf of an entity or organization described in that paragraph.

9. The name of each in-house lobbyist employed by the person or partnership.

10. The name of any in-house lobbyist employed by the person or partnership who was, at any time before the filing of the return,

i. a minister,

ii. a person employed in the office of a minister,

iii. a deputy minister, associate deputy minister or assistant deputy minister, or anyone of equivalent classification,

iv. a chief executive officer or chair of the board of directors of an agency, board or commission of the Crown,

v. a senior employee of an agency, board or commission of the Crown who reports to its chief executive officer,

vi. a chief executive officer or chair of the board of directors of,

A. Hydro One Inc. or a subsidiary of it,

B. Ontario Power Generation Inc. or a subsidiary of it,

C. Ontario Power Authority, or

D. Independent Electricity System Operator, or

vii. a senior employee of an entity listed in subparagraph vi who reports to its chief executive officer.

11. If any in-house lobbyist is lobbying at the time the return is filed, the subject matters in respect of which he or she is lobbying and any prescribed information respecting those subject matters, and the goal of the lobbying.

12. The subject matters in respect of which any in-house lobbyist has lobbied or expects to lobby during the period for which the return is filed and any prescribed information respecting those subject matters, and the goal of the lobbying.

13. Particulars to identify any relevant legislative proposal, bill, resolution, regulation, policy, program, decision, grant, contribution or financial benefit.

14. The name of any ministry of the Government of Ontario or agency, board or commission of the Crown in which any public office holder is employed or serves whom any in-house lobbyist has lobbied or expects to lobby during the period for which the return is filed.

15. Whether any in-house lobbyist has lobbied or expects to lobby a minister in his or her capacity as a minister or a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly in his or her capacity as a member, or a person on the staff of a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly, during the period for which the return is filed. The information under this paragraph must include the name of the office of the minister, if the minister is being lobbied in his or her capacity as a minister, for example, “the office of the Minister of [insert name of ministry]”, or the name of the office of the member, for example, “the office of the Member for [insert name of riding]”, if the minister or other member is being lobbied in his or her capacity as a member.

16. The techniques of communication, including grass-roots communication, that any in-house lobbyist has used or expects to use to lobby during the period for which the return is filed.

17. The name of any in-house lobbyist who has been identified in the last return filed and has ceased to be an in-house lobbyist or to be employed by the person or partnership.

18. Such additional information as may be prescribed with respect to the identity of a person or entity described in this section. However, the regulations cannot require the senior officer to set out on the return the names of individuals or other information that might identify individuals, if their names are not otherwise required by this subsection.

19. Any other prescribed information. However, the limitations in paragraphs 7 and 18 also apply to this paragraph.

Changes to return and new information

(4) The senior officer shall provide the registrar with any change to the information in the return filed under subsection (1) and any information required to be provided under subsection (3), the knowledge of which the senior officer acquired only after the return was filed, not later than 30 days after the change occurs or the knowledge is acquired.

Information requested by registrar

(5) The senior officer shall provide the registrar with any information that the registrar may request to clarify any information that the senior officer has provided to the registrar under this section not later than 30 days after the registrar makes the request.

(2) The definition of “in-house lobbyist” in subsection 5 (7) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

“in-house lobbyist” means an individual (other than one described in subsection (8)) who is employed by a person or partnership or is a director of a person who is compensated for the performance of his or her duties,

(a) a significant part of whose duties as an employee or director, as determined in accordance with the regulations, is to lobby on behalf of the person or partnership or, if the person is a corporation, on behalf of any subsidiary of the person or any corporation of which the person is a subsidiary, or

(b) a part of whose duties as an employee or director is to lobby on behalf of the person or partnership if his or her duties to lobby, together with the duties to lobby of other employees and other directors who are compensated for the performance of their duties, would constitute a significant part of the duties of one employee or director, as determined in accordance with the regulations, were those duties to lobby to be performed by only one employee or director; (“lobbyiste salarié”)

(3) Subsection 5 (7) of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“senior officer” means the most senior officer of a person or partnership who is compensated for the performance of his or her duties. (“premier dirigeant”)

9. (1) Clause 6 (1) (b) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(b) within 30 days either before or after the expiration of each six-month period after the date of filing the previous return.

(2) Subsection 6 (2) of the Act is repealed.

(3) The French version of paragraph 1 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “l’adresse de son établissement” and substituting “son adresse d’affaires”.

(4) Paragraph 2 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

2. The business name and address of the organization.

(5) Paragraph 5 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is amended by adding “during that government’s fiscal year that precedes the filing of the return” at the end.

(6) Paragraph 6 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “The name and business address” at the beginning and substituting “The business name and address”.

(7) The French version of paragraph 7 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “l’adresse de l’établissement” and substituting “l’adresse d’affaires”.

(8) Subsection 6 (3) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

8.1 The name of any in-house lobbyist employed by the organization who was, at any time before the filing of the return,

i. a minister,

ii. a person employed in the office of a minister,

iii. a deputy minister, associate deputy minister or assistant deputy minister, or anyone of equivalent classification,

iv. a chief executive officer or chair of the board of directors of an agency, board or commission of the Crown,

v. a senior employee of an agency, board or commission of the Crown who reports to its chief executive officer,

vi. a chief executive officer or chair of the board of directors of,

A. Hydro One Inc. or a subsidiary of it,

B. Ontario Power Generation Inc. or a subsidiary of it,

C. Ontario Power Authority, or

D. Independent Electricity System Operator, or

vii. a senior employee of an entity listed in subparagraph vi who reports to its chief executive officer.

(9) Paragraphs 9 and 10 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act are repealed and the following substituted:

9. If any in-house lobbyist is lobbying at the time the return is filed, the subject matters in respect of which he or she is lobbying and any prescribed information respecting those subject matters, and the goal of the lobbying.

10. The subject matters in respect of which any in-house lobbyist has lobbied or expects to lobby during the period for which the return is filed and any prescribed information respecting those subject matters, and the goal of the lobbying.

(10) Paragraph 12 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

12. The name of any ministry of the Government of Ontario or agency, board or commission of the Crown in which any public office holder is employed or serves whom any in-house lobbyist has lobbied during the period for which the return is filed.

(11) Paragraph 13 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

13. Whether any in-house lobbyist has lobbied or expects to lobby a minister in his or her capacity as a minister or a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly in his or her capacity as a member, or a person on the staff of a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly, during the period for which the return is filed. The information under this paragraph must include the name of the office of the minister, if the minister is being lobbied in his or her capacity as a minister, for example, “the office of the Minister of [insert name of ministry]”, or the name of the office of the member, for example, “the office of the Member for [insert name of riding]”, if the minister or other member is being lobbied in his or her capacity as a member.

(12) Paragraph 14 of subsection 6 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

14. The techniques of communication, including grass-roots communication, that any in-house lobbyist has used or expects to use to lobby during the period for which the return is filed.

(13) Subsection 6 (3) of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

17. Any other prescribed information. However, the limitations in paragraphs 4 and 6 also apply to this paragraph.

(14) Section 6 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Changes to return and new information

(3.1) The senior officer shall provide the registrar with any change to the information in the return filed under subsection (1) and any information required to be provided under subsection (3), the knowledge of which the senior officer acquired only after the return was filed, not later than 30 days after the change occurs or the knowledge is acquired.

(15) The French version of subsection 6 (4) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Renseignements demandés par le registrateur

(4) Le premier dirigeant communique au registrateur les précisions que celui-ci lui demande à l’égard des renseignements qu’il a fournis dans sa déclaration au plus tard 30 jours après que le registrateur en fait la demande.

10. Clause 14 (1) (b) of the Act is amended by striking out “or 5 (5)”.

11. (1) Subsection 15 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Advisory opinions and interpretation bulletins

(1) The registrar may issue advisory opinions and interpretation bulletins with respect to lobbyists’ conduct and with respect to any other matter respecting the enforcement, interpretation or application of this Act.

Code of conduct

(1.1) The registrar’s power under subsection (1) to issue interpretation bulletins includes the authority to issue a lobbyists’ code of conduct.

(2) The French version of subsection 15 (2) of the Act is amended by adding “consultatifs” after “avis”.

12. Subsection 16 (2) of the Act is repealed.

13. The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Investigations and Penalties

Investigation by registrar

17.1 (1) The registrar may conduct an investigation to determine if any person or persons have not complied with any provision of this Act or of the regulations.

Time limit

(2) The registrar shall not commence an investigation into an alleged non-compliance with this Act or the regulations more than two years after the date when the registrar knew or should have known about the alleged non-compliance.

Refusal or cease to investigate

(3) The registrar may refuse to conduct an investigation into any alleged non-compliance with this Act or the regulations or may cease such an investigation for any reason, including if the registrar believes that any of the following circumstances apply:

1. The matter could more appropriately be dealt with under another Act.

2. The matter is minor or trivial.

3. Dealing with the matter would serve no useful purpose because of the length of time that has elapsed since the matter arose.

Referral instead of investigation

17.2 The registrar may, instead of commencing an investigation, or at any time during the course of an investigation, refer the matter to another person or body so that it may be dealt with as a matter of law enforcement or in accordance with a procedure established under another Act if the registrar is of the opinion that this would be more appropriate than conducting or continuing the investigation.

Suspension of investigation in case of criminal investigation or charge laid

17.3 (1) The registrar may suspend an investigation if he or she discovers that,

(a) the subject matter of the investigation is also the subject matter of an investigation to determine whether an offence has been committed under this or any other Act of Ontario or of Canada; or

(b) a charge has been laid with respect to the alleged non-compliance.

Resumption of suspended investigation

(2) The registrar may resume a suspended investigation at any time, whether or not the other investigation or charge described in clause (1) (a) or (b) has been finally disposed of, but before resuming a suspended investigation the registrar shall consider the following:

1. Whether the registrar’s investigation may be concluded in a timely manner.

2. Whether the other investigation or charge will adequately deal with or has adequately dealt with the substance of the alleged non-compliance for the purposes of this Act.

Registrar’s powers on investigation

17.4 (1) In conducting an investigation, the registrar may require any person to,

(a) provide any information that he or she may have if, in the opinion of the registrar, the information is relevant to the investigation;

(b) produce any document or thing that may be in his or her possession or under his or her control if, in the opinion of the registrar, the document or thing is relevant to the investigation.

Same

(2) The registrar may summon any person who, in the registrar’s opinion, is able to provide information that is relevant to the investigation, and may require him or her to attend in person or by electronic means and may examine him or her on oath or affirmation.

Protection under Canada Evidence Act

(3) A person shall be informed by the registrar of his or her right to object to answer any question under section 5 of the Canada Evidence Act.

Court order

(4) The registrar may apply to the Superior Court of Justice for an order directing a person to provide information, documents or things as required under subsection (1) or to attend and be examined pursuant to a summons issued under subsection (2).

Privileges and right to counsel

(5) A person required to provide information or to produce a document or thing under subsection (1) and a person examined under subsection (2) may be represented by counsel and may claim any privilege to which the person is entitled in any court.

Notice after investigation

17.5 (1) If, after conducting an investigation, the registrar believes that a person has not complied with a provision of this Act or of the regulations, the registrar shall,

(a) give a notice to the person setting out,

(i) the alleged non-compliance,

(ii) the reasons why the registrar believes there has been non-compliance, and

(iii) the fact that the person may exercise an opportunity to be heard under clause (b) and the steps by which the person may exercise that opportunity;

(b) give the person a reasonable opportunity to be heard respecting the alleged non-compliance and any penalty that could be imposed by the registrar under this Act.

Same

(2) The notice must be in writing and delivered to the person personally, by email to the address provided by the person or by registered mail.

Same

(3) Except as provided in this section, the registrar need not hold a hearing and no person or body has a right to be heard by the registrar.

Registrar’s finding of non-compliance

17.6 (1) If, after conducting an investigation and after giving a person that the registrar believed to have not complied with this Act or the regulations an opportunity to be heard, the registrar finds that the person has not complied with a provision of this Act or of the regulations, the registrar shall give a notice to the person setting out,

(a) the finding of non-compliance;

(b) any penalty imposed under section 17.9; and

(c) the reasons for the finding and for the imposition of any penalty.

Notice

(2) The notice must also advise the person that he or she may ask for reconsideration and judicial review of the registrar’s finding or of the penalty imposed, or both.

Same

(3) The notice must be in writing and delivered to the person personally, by email to the address provided by the person or by registered mail.

Reconsideration of registrar’s finding

17.7 (1) Within 15 days after receiving notice of the registrar’s finding under subsection 17.6 (1), the person against whom the finding is made may request that the registrar reconsider the finding or the penalty imposed, or both.

Same

(2) A request for reconsideration must be in writing and must identify the grounds on which the reconsideration is requested.

Same

(3) If a person requests reconsideration of the registrar’s finding or of the penalty imposed, or both, the registrar shall reconsider his or her finding or the penalty imposed, or both, and give the person a notice of his or her decision.

Same

(4) The notice must be in writing and delivered to the person personally, by email to the address provided by the person or by registered mail.

Judicial review

17.8 Within 60 days after receiving the notice of the registrar’s finding under subsection 17.6 (1) or of the registrar’s decision under subsection 17.7 (3), the person against whom the finding is made may make an application for judicial review of the registrar’s finding or the penalty imposed, or both.

Penalties

Registrar’s powers after finding of non-compliance

17.9 (1) If the registrar’s finding under section 17.6 is that a person has not complied with a provision of this Act or of the regulations, the registrar may, taking into account the gravity of the non-compliance, the number of previous incidents of non-compliance committed by the same person and the number of previous convictions against the same person for offences under this Act, and if the registrar is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so, do either or both of the following:

1. Prohibit the person against whom the finding is made from lobbying for a period of not more than two years.

2. Subject to subsection (4), make public the following information:

i. The name of the person against whom the finding is made.

ii. A description of the non-compliance.

iii. Any other information that the registrar considers necessary to explain the finding of non-compliance.

Registrar’s powers after conviction

(2) If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, the registrar may, taking into account the gravity of the offence, the number of previous convictions against the same person for offences under this Act and the number of previous incidents of non-compliance committed by the same person, and if the registrar is of the opinion that it is in the public interest to do so, do either or both of the things listed in subsection (1), with necessary modifications.

Publication in registry

(3) If the registrar makes information public under subsection (1) or (2) as described in paragraph 2 of subsection (1), he or she shall also include the information described in subparagraphs 2 i and ii of subsection (1) in the registry established and maintained under section 11.

Limitation

(4) The registrar shall not make any information public under subsection (1) until the time for making an application for judicial review under section 17.8 has expired and no application has been made.

Delaying implementation of penalty

(5) A person who requests reconsideration under section 17.7, or makes an application for judicial review under section 17.8, of the registrar’s finding against the person or the penalty imposed, or both, may at the same time apply in writing to the registrar to delay the implementation of the penalty, or any part of the penalty, until the matter has been finally disposed of, and upon receipt of such an application, the registrar may delay implementing the penalty until the matter has been finally disposed of if he or she is of the opinion that the delay would be just in the circumstances.

Confidentiality

17.10 (1) Except as provided under this section, the registrar and anyone acting for or under the direction of the registrar shall not disclose to any person,

(a) whether the registrar is conducting an investigation under this Act; or

(b) any information, document or thing obtained in the course of conducting an investigation under this Act.

Exceptions

(2) The registrar and any person acting for or under the registrar’s direction shall not disclose to any person any information, document or thing obtained in the course of conducting an investigation under this Act except as necessary,

(a) to conduct an investigation under section 17.1;

(b) to refer a matter under section 17.2; or

(c) to enforce a penalty imposed under section 17.9.

Same

(3) The registrar and any person acting for or under the registrar’s direction shall not give or be compelled to give evidence in any court or in any other proceeding in respect of information, documents or things obtained in the course of conducting an investigation under this Act except,

(a) in a prosecution for perjury;

(b) in a prosecution for an offence under this Act; or

(c) in an application for judicial review of a finding of or penalty imposed by the registrar.

Procedure – non-application of Statutory Powers Procedure Act

17.11 The Statutory Powers Procedure Act does not apply to an investigation conducted by the registrar under section 17.1.

Annual report

17.12 The annual report of the Integrity Commissioner (who is appointed as registrar under section 10 of this Act) required by section 24 of the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994 shall include,

(a) the number of investigations conducted by the Commissioner under this Act during the year, including the number of those investigations that were commenced, concluded, ceased, suspended or resumed during the year and the number of matters that the Commissioner refused to investigate or referred to another person or body during the year;

(b) a description in summary form of each investigation and of each matter reported under clause (a); and

(c) any other information relevant to the administration of this Act the public disclosure of which the Commissioner believes to be in the public interest.

14. (1) Subsection 18 (1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Offences

Returns by consultant lobbyists

(1) Every individual who fails to comply with subsection 4 (1), (4), (5) or (8) is guilty of an offence.

(2) Subsection 18 (2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Returns by senior officers

(2) Every individual who fails to comply with subsection 5 (1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) is guilty of an offence.

(3) Subsection 18 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Same

(3) Every individual who fails to comply with subsection 6 (1), (3), (3.1) or (4) is guilty of an offence.

(4) Subsections 18 (5), (6) and (7) of the Act are repealed.

(5) Subsection 18 (7.1) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Public funds, etc.

(7.1) Every individual who fails to comply with section 3.1 is guilty of an offence.

(6) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Contingent payments

(7.2) Every individual who fails to comply with section 3.2 is guilty of an offence.

(7) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Conflict of interest

(7.3) Every individual who fails to comply with section 3.3 is guilty of an offence.

(8) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Placing public office holders into conflict of interest

(7.4) Every individual who fails to comply with section 3.4 is guilty of an offence.

(9) Subsection 18 (8) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Penalty

(8) Upon conviction of an offence under this section, an individual is liable,

(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not more than $25,000; and

(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not more than $100,000.

15. (1) Clause 19 (a) of the Act is repealed.

(2) Section 19 of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(d.1) governing any notice required to be given by this Act, including prescribing when a notice given by registered mail is deemed to be received;

Commencement

16. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 8
Amendments to the Ombudsman Act and Related Amendments

Ombudsman Act

1. (1) Section 1 of the Ombudsman Act is amended by adding the following definitions:

“local board” means, except in section 14.1,

(a) a local board as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Municipal Act, 2001 and subsection 3 (1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, other than any local board prescribed by regulations made under clause (2) (a) of this Act,

(b) any body prescribed by regulations made under clause (2) (b); (“conseil local”)

“municipally-controlled corporation” means,

(a) a municipally-controlled corporation as defined in section 223.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001;

(b) a city-controlled corporation as defined in section 156 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006; and

(c) any corporation prescribed by regulations made under clause (2) (c); (“société contrôlée par une municipalité”)

“municipal Ombudsman” means an Ombudsman, if any, appointed by a municipality under the Municipal Act, 2001 or the Ombudsman appointed under subsection 170 (1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be; (“ombudsman municipal”)

“municipal sector entity” means,

(a) a municipality;

(b) a local board; and

(c) a municipally-controlled corporation; (“entité du secteur municipal”)

(2) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“public sector body” means,

(a) a governmental organization; and

(b) any other entity to which this Act applies under section 13; (“organisme du secteur public”)

(3) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“school board” means a board as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Education Act; (“conseil scolaire”)

(4) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following definition:

“university” means a university in Ontario that receives regular direct operating funding from the Government. (“université”)

(5) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Regulations

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a) exempting local boards from the definition of “local board” in subsection (1);

(b) prescribing bodies that perform a public function as local boards for the purposes of the definition of “local board” in subsection (1);

(c) prescribing corporations that perform a public function as municipally-controlled corporations for the purposes of the definition of “municipally-controlled corporation” in subsection (1).

2. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Head of public sector body, municipal sector entity

Municipality

1.1 (1) For the purposes of this Act, the head of a public sector body that is a municipality is,

(a) a member of the council of the municipality, or a committee of the council, designated by by-law of the municipality as head; or

(b) if no member or committee is designated, the council.

Local board

(2) For the purposes of this Act, the head of a public sector body that is a local board is,

(a) a member of the local board, or a committee of the local board, designated in writing by the members of the local board as head; or

(b) if no member or committee is designated, the members of the local board.

Municipally-controlled corporation

(3) For the purposes of this Act, the head of a public sector body that is a municipally-controlled corporation shall be determined in accordance with regulations made under subsection (4).

Regulations

(4) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations governing the determination of the head of a public sector body that is a municipally-controlled corporation.

3. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Head of public sector body, school board

1.2 For the purposes of this Act, the head of a public sector body that is a school board is,

(a) a member or employee of the school board designated by the school board as head; or

(b) if no one is designated, the director of education for the school board.

4. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Head of public sector body, university

1.3 For the purposes of this Act, the head of a public sector body that is a university is,

(a) a member of the governing body of the university or other officer or employee of the university, or a committee of the governing body, designated by the governing body as head; or

(b) if no person or committee is designated, the president of the university.

5. (1) Section 13 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Application to municipal sector entities

(2) This Act applies to municipal sector entities.

(2) Section 13 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Application to school boards

(3) This Act applies to school boards.

(3) Section 13 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Application to universities

(4) This Act applies to universities.

6. (1) Subsection 14 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “a governmental organization” and substituting “a public sector body”.

(2) Subsections 14 (2.1), (2.2), (2.3), (2.4), (2.5) and (2.6) of the Act are repealed.

(3) Subsection 14 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “or organization” and substituting “or body”.

(4) Subsection 14 (4) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(a.1) in respect of which there is, under any by-law or resolution of a school board, a right of appeal or objection, or a right to apply for a hearing or review, on the merits of the case to a designated school board official or employee, or to a committee constituted by or under a by-law or resolution of the school board, until that right of appeal or objection or application has been exercised in the particular case, or until after any time for the exercise of that right has expired;

(5) Subsection 14 (4) of the Act is amended by adding the following clause:

(a.2) in respect of which there is, under any by-law or resolution of the governing body or senate of a university, a right of appeal or objection, or a right to apply for a hearing or review, on the merits of the case to a designated university official or employee, or to a committee or tribunal constituted by or under a by-law or resolution of the governing body or senate, until that right of appeal or objection or application has been exercised in the particular case, or until after any time for the exercise of that right has expired;

(6) Clause 14 (4) (b) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(b) of any person acting as legal adviser to the public sector body or as counsel to the public sector body in relation to any proceedings, or, in the case of a public sector body that is a governmental organization, a legal adviser or counsel to the Crown.

(7) Section 14 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Same

(4.1) For greater certainty, clause (4) (a) includes rights established under by-laws made by a municipal sector entity under any Act.

Municipal Ombudsman

(4.2) Nothing in this Act empowers the Ombudsman to investigate a complaint respecting any decision, recommendation, act or omission that is within the jurisdiction of a municipal Ombudsman, unless,

(a) a complaint respecting the matter was made to the municipal Ombudsman and he or she refused to investigate the matter, or conducted and concluded an investigation into the matter; or

(b) the time, if any, for bringing a complaint respecting the matter to the municipal Ombudsman for investigation has expired.

7. (1) The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Specific powers of investigation re municipalities, local boards

14.1 (1) This section applies in the circumstances described in clause 239.1 (b) of the Municipal Act, 2001 or clause 190.1 (1) (b) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be.

Definition

(2) In this section,

“local board” means,

(a) when used in relation to a municipality other than the City of Toronto, a local board as defined in subsection 238 (1) of the Municipal Act, 2001; and

(b) when used in relation to the City of Toronto, a local board as defined in subsection 3 (1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 to which section 189 of that Act applies.

Investigation by Ombudsman

(3) If a person makes a request under clause 239.1 (b) of the Municipal Act, 2001 or clause 190.1 (1) (b) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Ombudsman may, as the case may be, investigate,

(a) whether a municipality or local board of a municipality has complied with section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001 or a procedure by-law under subsection 238 (2) of that Act in respect of a meeting or part of a meeting that was closed to the public; or

(b) whether the City of Toronto or a local board of the City has complied with section 190 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 or a procedure by-law under subsection 189 (2) of that Act in respect of a meeting or part of a meeting that was closed to the public.

Application of Act

(4) Subject to subsection (5), this Act applies to an investigation under subsection (3).

Exceptions

(5) Subsections 14 (4) and 18 (4) and (5), sections 20 and 21 and subsections 22 (1) and 25 (3) and (4) do not apply to an investigation under subsection (3).

Interpretation

(6) For the purposes of subsection (4), the remaining provisions of this Act apply with necessary modifications to a municipality or local board as if it were a governmental organization, and, for the purpose,

(a) the reference in subsection 19 (3) to the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 shall be read as a reference to the Municipal Act, 2001 or the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be; and

(b) if subsection 19 (3.1) does not contain a reference to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the reference in that subsection to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act shall be read as a reference to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Report and recommendations

(7) If, after completing an investigation under subsection (3), the Ombudsman is of opinion that the meeting or part of the meeting that was the subject-matter of the investigation appears to have been closed to the public contrary to section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001 or to a procedure by-law under subsection 238 (2) of that Act or contrary to section 190 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 or to a procedure by-law under subsection 189 (2) of that Act, as the case may be, the Ombudsman shall report his or her opinion, and the reasons for it, to the municipality or local board, as the case may be, and may make such recommendations as he or she thinks fit.

Reports to be public

(8) The municipality or local board shall ensure that reports received under subsection (7) by the municipality or local board, as the case may be, are made available to the public.

Ombudsman may publish report

(9) The Ombudsman may, after making a report under subsection (7), publish the report or otherwise make it available to the public.

(2) Subsection 14.1 (5) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), is amended by striking out “Subsections 14 (4) and 18 (4) and (5)” at the beginning and substituting “Subsections 14 (4) and 18 (5.1)”.

(3) Subsection 14.1 (6) of the Act, as enacted by subsection (1), is repealed and the following substituted:

Interpretation

(6) For the purposes of subsection (4), the remaining provisions of this Act apply with necessary modifications to a municipality or local board as if it were a public sector body that is a municipal sector entity.

8. Section 15 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Application of rules

(2.1) Rules made under this section in respect of governmental organizations apply in respect of all public sector bodies, unless this Act or the rules expressly provide otherwise.

Exception

(2.2) Any rules relating to the operation of subsection 21 (4) or (5) apply only to public sector bodies that are governmental organizations.

9. (1) Subsection 18 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “the head of the governmental organization” and substituting “the head of the public sector body”.

(2) Subsection 18 (3) of the Act is amended by,

(a) striking out “any governmental organization” and substituting “any public sector body”; and

(b) striking out “that organization” and substituting “that public sector body”.

(3) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Documents provided by Ombudsman

(3.1) The following rules apply with respect to any documents provided by the Ombudsman to a public sector body or person under subsection (3) for the purposes of giving the public sector body or person an opportunity to make representations:

1. The documents shall be maintained by the public sector body or person in confidence and shall not be disclosed except as authorized by the Ombudsman.

2. Despite any recordkeeping or records retention requirements, rules or policies, whether established under an Act or otherwise, that apply to the public sector body or person,

i. the public sector body or person shall return the documents to the Ombudsman on his or her request, and

ii. no copy of any of the documents shall be retained by the public sector body or person.

Prevails over FIPPA, MFIPPA

(3.2) Subsection (3.1) prevails over the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as the case may be.

(4) Subsection 18 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “any investigation” and substituting “any investigation respecting a governmental organization”.

(5) Subsection 18 (5) of the Act is amended by striking out “in relation to any investigation” and substituting “in relation to any investigation respecting a governmental organization”.

(6) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Consultation, municipal sector entities

(5.1) Subsections (4) and (5) apply with necessary modifications to any investigation respecting a municipal sector entity, except that,

(a) the reference to an investigation respecting a governmental organization shall be read as a reference to an investigation respecting a municipal sector entity; and

(b) the reference to a minister shall be read as a reference to the municipality.

(7) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Consultation, school boards

(5.2) Subsections (4) and (5) apply with necessary modifications to any investigation respecting a school board, except that,

(a) the reference to an investigation respecting a governmental organization shall be read as a reference to an investigation respecting a school board; and

(b) the reference to a minister shall be read as a reference to the head for the school board under section 1.2.

(8) Section 18 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Consultation, universities

(5.3) Subsections (4) and (5) apply with necessary modifications to any investigation respecting a university, except that,

(a) the reference to an investigation respecting a governmental organization shall be read as a reference to an investigation respecting a university; and

(b) the reference to a minister shall be read as a reference to the head for the university under section 1.3.

(9) Subsection 18 (6) of the Act is amended by striking out “any governmental organization” and substituting “any public sector body”.

10. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Meetings to be closed to the public

18.1 (1) Despite any other Act, any meeting or part of a meeting held by the governing body or senate of a university or the executive committee of the governing body or senate, or by any governmental organization prescribed under subsection (2), shall be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is an ongoing investigation under this Act respecting the university or governmental organization, as the case may be.

Regulations

(2) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing governmental organizations for the purposes of subsection (1).

11. (1) Subsection 19 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “any governmental organization” and substituting “any public sector body”.

(2) Clause 19 (2) (b) of the Act is amended by striking out “any governmental organization” and substituting “any public sector body”.

(3) Subsection 19 (3) of the Act is amended by striking out “the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006” and substituting, “the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, the Municipal Act, 2001 or the City of Toronto Act, 2006, as the case may be”.

(4) Subsection 19 (3.1) of the Act is amended by adding “the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act” after “the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act”.

12. (1) Subsection 21 (3) of the Act is amended in the portion after clause (g) by,

(a) striking out “the appropriate governmental organization” and substituting “the appropriate public sector body”;

(b) striking out “the governmental organization” and substituting “the public sector body”; and

(c) striking out “and the Ombudsman shall also send a copy of his or her report and recommendations to the minister concerned” at the end.

(2) Section 21 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(3.1) In the case of an investigation respecting a governmental organization, the Ombudsman shall also send a copy of the report and recommendations to the appropriate minister.

(3) Section 21 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(3.2) In the case of an investigation respecting a local board or municipally-controlled corporation, the Ombudsman shall also send a copy of the report and recommendations to the municipality.

(4) Section 21 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(3.3) In the case of an investigation respecting a school board, the Ombudsman shall also send a copy of the report and recommendations to the head of the school board under section 1.2.

(5) Section 21 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(3.4) In the case of an investigation respecting a university, the Ombudsman shall also send a copy of the report and recommendations to the head of the university under section 1.3.

(6) Subsection 21 (4) of the Act is amended by adding “In the case of a report respecting a governmental organization,” at the beginning.

(7) Section 21 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Other reports may be made public

(6) In the case of a report respecting a public sector body other than a governmental organization, the Ombudsman may, after making the report, publish the report or otherwise make it available to the public.

13. (1) Subsection 25 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “any governmental organization” and substituting “any public sector body”.

(2) Subsection 25 (2) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Notice of entry

(2) Before entering any premises under this section, the Ombudsman shall,

(a) notify the head of the public sector body; and

(b) provide the head a reasonable opportunity to give reasons why entry to the premises is not appropriate.

(3) Section 25 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Private dwellings

(2.1) Despite subsection (1), the Ombudsman shall not enter a place that is being used as a dwelling, except with the consent of the occupier or under the authority of a warrant issued under subsection (2.2).

Warrant

(2.2) A justice of the peace may issue a warrant authorizing a person to enter a place being used as a dwelling if the justice of the peace is satisfied, on evidence under oath or affirmation, that there are reasonable grounds to believe that it is necessary to enter the place in order to carry out an investigation under this Act.

Same

(2.3) Any entry under the warrant shall be made at such reasonable times as may be specified in the warrant.

14. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Constitutional rights and privileges relating to education

29. Nothing in this Act adversely affects the rights and privileges guaranteed by section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Ombudsman shall exercise his or her authority under this Act with respect to school boards in a manner that is consistent with and respectful of those rights and privileges.

15. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Universities and academic freedom

30. In exercising his or her authority under this Act with respect to universities, the Ombudsman shall consider the application of the principles of academic freedom within universities.

16. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Regulations re transitional matters

31. (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations providing for transitional matters as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary or advisable to,

(a) facilitate the implementation of amendments to this Act made by Schedule 8 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014; and

(b) deal with any problems or issues arising as a result of the repeal, amendment, enactment or re-enactment of a provision of this Act by Schedule 8 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014.

Conflicts

(2) If there is a conflict between a regulation made under this section and a provision of this or any other Act or a provision of another regulation made under this or any other Act, the regulation made under this section prevails.

City of Toronto Act, 2006

17. Subsections 172 (3) and (4) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 are repealed and the following substituted:

Application of Ombudsman Act

(3) Section 19 of the Ombudsman Act applies to the exercise of powers and the performance of duties by the Ombudsman under this Part and, for the purpose, references in section 19 of that Act to “any public sector body” are deemed to be references to “the City, a local board (restricted definition) or a city-controlled corporation”.

18. Subsection 190 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Other criteria

(3) A meeting or part of a meeting shall be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is,

(a) a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, if the city council, board, commission or other body is the head of an institution for the purposes of that Act; or

(b) an ongoing investigation respecting the City, a local board or a city-controlled corporation by the Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman appointed under subsection 170 (1) of this Act, or the investigator referred to in subsection 190.2 (1).

19. Clause 190.1 (1) (b) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(b) by the Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsman Act, if,

(i) the City has not appointed an investigator referred to in subsection 190.2 (1), or

(ii) an investigator has been appointed and,

A. the person requested that the investigator investigate the matter and the investigator either refused or conducted and concluded an investigation into the matter, or

B. the time, if any, for bringing a request respecting the matter to the investigator has expired.

Education Act

20. (1) Subsection 207 (1) of the Education Act is amended by striking out “The meetings of a board and, subject to subsection (2), meetings of a committee of the board” at the beginning and substituting “Subject to subsections (2) and (2.1), the meetings of a board and the meetings of a committee of the board”.

(2) Section 207 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Closing of meetings re certain investigations

(2.1) A meeting of a board or of a committee of a board, including a committee of the whole board, shall be closed to the public when the subject-matter under consideration involves an ongoing investigation under the Ombudsman Act respecting the board.

Ministry of Correctional Services Act

21. Section 57.7 of the Ministry of Correctional Services Act is amended by striking out “a governmental organization” and substituting “a public sector body”.

Municipal Act, 2001

22. Subsections 223.14 (3) and (4) of the Municipal Act, 2001 are repealed and the following substituted:

Application of Ombudsman Act

(3) Section 19 of the Ombudsman Act applies to the exercise of powers and the performance of duties by the Ombudsman under this Part and, for the purpose, references in section 19 of that Act to “any public sector body” are deemed to be references to “the municipality, a local board or a municipally-controlled corporation”.

23. Subsection 239 (3) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Other criteria

(3) A meeting or part of a meeting shall be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered is,

(a) a request under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, if the council, board, commission or other body is the head of an institution for the purposes of that Act; or

(b) an ongoing investigation respecting the municipality, a local board or a municipally-controlled corporation by the Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsman Act, an Ombudsman referred to in subsection 223.13 (1) of this Act, or the investigator referred to in subsection 239.2 (1).

24. Clause 239.1 (b) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(b) by the Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsman Act, if,

(i) the municipality has not appointed an investigator referred to in subsection 239.2 (1), or

(ii) an investigator has been appointed and,

A. the person requested that the investigator investigate the matter and the investigator either refused or conducted and concluded an investigation into the matter, or

B. the time, if any, for bringing a request respecting the matter to the investigator has expired.

Miscellaneous Amendment

Legislative Assembly Statute Law Amendment Act, 1999

25. Subsection 4 (2) of the Legislative Assembly Statute Law Amendment Act, 1999 is repealed.

Commencement

Commencement

26. (1) Subject to subsection (2), this Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Same

(2) Section 25 comes into force on the day the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 receives Royal Assent.

Schedule 9
Amendments to the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007

1. (1) Section 1 of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 is amended by striking out “and” at the end of clause (b), by adding “and” at the end of clause (c) and by adding the following clause:

(d) conduct investigations and make recommendations to improve children’s aid society services and services provided by residential licensees where a children’s aid society is the placing agency.

(2) Section 1 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Paramount purpose

(2) In conducting investigations and making recommendations under clause (1) (d), the Advocate shall have regard to the paramount purpose of the Child and Family Services Act, to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children.

2. (1) The definition of “advocacy” in subsection 2 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “sections 15 and 16” and substituting “subsection 15 (1) and section 16”.

(2) Subsection 2 (1) of the Act is amended by adding the following definitions:

“Child and Family Services Review Board” means the Child and Family Services Review Board continued under Part IX of the Child and Family Services Act; (“Commission de révision des services à l’enfance et à la famille”)

“children’s aid society service” means the functions of a children’s aid society listed in subsection 15 (3) of the Child and Family Services Act; (“service d’une société d’aide à l’enfance”)

“Director” means the Director appointed under subsection 5 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act; (“directeur”)

“director of investigations” means the director of investigations appointed under section 4; (“directeur des enquêtes”)

“Ministry” means the Ministry of the Minister; (“ministère”)

“placing agency” means a children’s aid society that places a child in residential care or foster care; (“agence de placement”)

“residential licensee” means a licensee within the meaning of subsection 3 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act; (“titulaire de permis d’un foyer”)

“service”, for the purposes of clauses 1 (d) and 15 (2) (b), has the same meaning as in subsection 3 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act, except it does not include a youth justice service; (“service”)

“systemic investigation” means an investigation under subsection 15 (2) concerning a group of children who are in similar circumstances; (“enquête systémique”)

3. Section 4 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Director of investigations, appointment

(2) The Advocate shall appoint a director of investigations to oversee and manage the investigative function of the office as described in subsection 15 (2).

Same, qualifications

(3) The director of investigations must be a person with significant experience in investigations and child protection.

4. Subsection 6 (1) of the Act is revoked and the following substituted:

Term of office

(1) Subject to subsection (2), the Advocate holds office for a term of five years, and may be reappointed for one further term of up to five years.

Same

(1.1) The Advocate continues to hold office after the expiry of his or her term until a successor is appointed.

5. The Act is amended by adding the following section:

Staff, investigative team

13.1 (1) The director of investigations shall, from among staff retained by the Advocate under section 13, establish an investigative team,

(a) to conduct investigations under section 16.1; and

(b) to provide advice and guidance to the Advocate with respect to investigations.

Qualifications

(2) The investigative team must consist of individuals with significant experience in investigations and child protection and may also include individuals with significant experience in other areas relevant to investigations such as pediatric health services, children’s mental health services or child development services.

Separation of investigative function from advocacy function

(3) The director of investigations and the investigative team shall not concurrently conduct investigations and provide advocacy under subsection 15 (1).

No sharing of information

(4) Subject to section 21.1, the Advocate, the director of investigations and the investigative team shall not share information respecting an investigation, including personal information, with anyone, including staff retained by the Advocate other than the Advocate and members of the investigative team.

6. Subsection 14 (2) of the Act is amended by striking out “section 21” at the end and substituting “section 21 or 21.1”.

7. Section 15 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsections:

Same, investigative function

(2) In addition to the functions set out in subsection (1), the Advocate has the function of investigating any matter that comes to his or her attention from any source or on the Advocate’s own initiative concerning a child or group of children, including a systemic investigation, with respect to,

(a) a children’s aid society service; or

(b) a service provided by a residential licensee where a children’s aid society is the placing agency.

Application to Divisional Court to determine jurisdiction

(3) If any question arises whether the Advocate has jurisdiction to investigate any matter under this Act, the Advocate may, if he or she thinks fit, apply to the Divisional Court for a declaratory order determining the question.

8. (1) Subsection 16 (1) of the Act is amended by striking out “In carrying out the functions of the Advocate” at the beginning in the portion before clause (a) and substituting “In carrying out the functions of the Advocate under subsection 15 (1)”.

(2) Subsection 16 (3) of the Act is amended by adding “Except in relation to the Advocate’s investigative function under subsection 15 (2),” at the beginning.

(3) Section 16 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Power not to investigate a matter

(4.1) The Advocate may in his or her discretion decide not to investigate, or, as the case may require, not to further investigate any matter if in his or her opinion, one of the following applies:

1. It appears to the Advocate that under the law or existing administrative practice there is an adequate remedy in respect of the matter, whether or not the person raising the matter has availed himself, herself, or itself of it.

2. The person who raised the matter with the Advocate has not a sufficient personal interest in the subject matter that was raised.

3. The matter is trivial, frivolous or vexatious or is not raised in good faith.

(4) Subsection 16 (5) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Reasons to be given

(5) The Advocate shall give the complainant or the person who raised an investigation matter with the Advocate notice in writing of the Advocate’s decision and of the reasons for the decision, where the Advocate decides,

(a) not to act on a complaint under subsection 16 (1) or to take no further action with regard to a complaint; or

(b) not to investigate a matter under section 16.1 or further investigate the matter.

9. The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Powers re investigative function

16.1 (1) In relation to the Advocate’s investigative function under subsection 15 (2), the Advocate may hear or obtain information from such persons as he or she thinks may be relevant to the investigation and may make such inquiries as he or she thinks may be relevant to the investigation.

Hearing not necessary

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), it is not necessary for the Advocate to hold a hearing and no person is entitled as of right to be heard by the Advocate.

Opportunity to make representations

(3) Despite subsection (2), if at any time during the course of an investigation it appears to the Advocate that there may be sufficient grounds for him or her to make a report or recommendation that may adversely affect any of the following persons or entities, the Advocate shall give to the person or entity an opportunity to make representations respecting the adverse report or recommendation, either personally or by counsel:

1. The Minister.

2. A children’s aid society.

3. A residential licensee.

4. Any other person or entity.

Compelling information or documents

(4) In carrying out his or her investigative function, the Advocate may require any officer, employee or member of any person or entity listed in subsection (3) or any other person or entity who, in the Advocate’s opinion, is able to give information relating to any matter that is being investigated by the Advocate,

(a) to furnish the information; and

(b) to produce any documents or things which, in the Advocate’s opinion, relate to the matter and which may be in the possession or under the control of the person or entity.

Examination under oath

(5) In carrying out his or her investigative function, the Advocate may summon any of the following individuals before him or her to examine on oath, and for that purpose may administer an oath:

1. An individual,

i. who is an officer, employee or member of any person or entity listed in subsection (3), and

ii. who, in the Advocate’s opinion, is able to give any information relevant to the investigation.

2. Any other individual who, in the Advocate’s opinion, is able to give any information relevant to the investigation.

Secrecy

(6) No person who is bound by the provisions of any Act, other than the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, to maintain secrecy in relation to, or not to disclose, any matter shall be required to supply any information to or answer any question put by the Advocate in relation to that matter, or to produce to the Advocate any document or thing relating to it, if compliance with that requirement would be in breach of the obligation of secrecy or non-disclosure.

Providing personal information despite privacy Acts

(7) Any person who is subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 is not prevented by any provisions of those Acts from providing personal information to the Advocate when the Advocate requires the person to provide the information as part of an investigation.

Privileges

(8) For the purposes of this section, every person has the same privileges in relation to the giving of information, the answering of questions and the production of documents and things as witnesses have in any court.

Protection

(9) Except on the trial of any person for perjury in respect of the person’s sworn testimony, no statement made or answer given by that or any other person in the course of any investigation by the Advocate is admissible in evidence against any person in any court or at any inquiry or in any other proceedings.

Right to object to answer

(10) A person giving a statement or answer in the course of any investigation by the Advocate shall be informed by the Advocate of the right to object to answer any question under section 5 of the Canada Evidence Act.

Prosecution

(11) No person is liable to prosecution for an offence against any Act, other than this Act, by reason of his or her compliance with any requirement of the Advocate with respect to providing evidence.

Fees

(12) Where any person is required by the Advocate to attend before him or her for the purposes of providing evidence, the person is entitled to the same fees, allowances, and expenses as if he or she were a witness in the Superior Court of Justice, and the provisions of any Act, regulation or rule in that behalf apply accordingly.

Advocate may consult Minister, etc.

16.2 (1) The Advocate may, in his or her discretion, at any time during or after an investigation, consult the Minister or the administrative head of a children’s aid society or residential licensee or other person or entity who is concerned in the matter of the investigation.

Advocate must consult Minister, etc.

(2) On the request of the Minister or a children’s aid society or residential licensee or other person or entity in relation to any investigation, or in any case where any investigation relates to any recommendation made to the Minister, a children’s aid society or residential licensee or other person or entity, the Advocate shall consult the Minister, children’s aid society or residential licensee or other person or entity after making the investigation and before forming a final opinion.

Breach of duty or misconduct

(3) If during or after an investigation the Advocate is of the opinion that there is evidence of a breach of duty or of misconduct on the part of any officer or employee employed at the Ministry or by a children’s aid society or residential licensee, the Advocate may refer the matter to the appropriate authority.

Disclosure of certain matters not required

16.3 (1) The Advocate shall not require, in the carrying out of his or her investigative function, any information or answer to be given or, as the case may be, a document or thing to be produced where the Attorney General certifies that the giving of the information or the answering of the question or the production of the document or thing,

(a) might interfere with or impede the investigation, detection or prosecution of an offence; or

(b) might reveal the substance of deliberations of the Executive Council or any of its Committees without authority to do so.

Same

(2) The Advocate may not require the provision of information, the production of a document or thing or the giving of an answer if the provision, production or answer might disclose,

(a) information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege; or

(b) information prepared by or for counsel for a Ministry or a public body for use in giving legal advice or in the contemplation of for the use in litigation.

Matters excluded from investigation

16.4 (1) The Advocate is prohibited from investigating any of the following matters:

1. Subject to subsection (2), child deaths that fall within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Coroner or of any committees that report to the Office of Chief Coroner.

2. Subject to subsection (2), matters that are eligible for review by or have been decided by the Child and Family Services Review Board.

3. Matters that are the subject of licensing inspections or Crown ward reviews under the Child and Family Services Act or the subject of inspections or reviews by the Ministry, where the investigation by the Advocate would, in the opinion of the Director, interfere with the inspection or review.

4. Matters that are eligible for resolution by a complaints or review process under this Act or the Child and Family Services Act, other than the reviews referred to in paragraphs 2 and 3, until after the complaints or review process is completed.

5. Matters where another investigative authority is conducting an investigation, until after that investigation is completed.

6. Matters where there is, under any Act, a right of appeal or objection or a right to apply for a hearing or review on the merits of the matter to any court or tribunal,

i. until the right of appeal or objection or application has been exercised in the matter, or

ii. until after any time for the exercise of the right has expired.

Exception, systemic investigations

(2) If the Advocate determines that a systemic investigation is necessary to promote the best interests, protection and well-being of children, the Advocate may conduct a systemic investigation into matters referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of subsection (1) but may only do so after the processes for dealing with the matters referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 have been completed.

10. Section 17 of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Notice of review

17. (1) Where the Advocate intends to undertake an investigation or systemic review, the Advocate shall advise,

(a) the Minister or the administrative head of the children’s aid society or the residential licensee that is to be affected of the intention to conduct the investigation; or

(b) the Minister or the administrative head of the Ministry, agency, service provider or other entity that is to be affected of the intention to conduct the review.

Same

(2) Where a matter comes to the attention of the Advocate that could be investigated under clause 15 (2) (b), the Advocate shall advise the Director of the matter, whether or not the Advocate intends to conduct an investigation.

11. (1) Paragraph 3 of section 20 of the Act is amended by adding “Subject to paragraph 3.1” at the beginning.

(2) Section 20 of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

3.1 The Advocate may directly or indirectly collect personal information about an individual without consent during an investigation conducted pursuant to the Advocate’s investigative function under subsection 15 (2), where the collection is reasonably necessary to the investigation.

(3) Paragraph 4 of section 20 of the Act is amended by adding “Subject to paragraph 4.1” at the beginning.

(4) Section 20 of the Act is amended by adding the following paragraph:

4.1 The Advocate may use personal information about an individual without consent during an investigation conducted pursuant to the Advocate’s investigative function under subsection 15 (2), where the use is reasonably necessary to the investigation.

(5) Paragraph 5 of section 20 of the Act is amended by adding “Subject to paragraph 3.1” at the beginning.

(6) Paragraph 7 of section 20 of the Act is amended by adding “Subject to subsection 13.1 (4)” at the beginning.

12. The Act is amended by adding the following sections:

Reports re investigations

Contents of report

21.1 (1) If the Advocate conducts an investigation under section 15, the Advocate shall, after completing the investigation, make a report,

(a) outlining the reasons for undertaking the investigation;

(b) containing recommendations for the Minister, a children’s aid society or residential licensee or any other person or entity as the Advocate considers appropriate; and

(c) addressing any other matters the Advocate considers appropriate.

Prohibition: identifying child

(2) Despite paragraph 10 of section 20, the Advocate shall not disclose in an investigative report the name of or any identifying information about the child to whom the investigation relates, and nothing in this section limits the prohibition against identifying a child set out in subsection 45 (8) of the Child and Family Services Act.

Copies of the report

(3) The Advocate shall provide a copy of the report to any person or entity referred to in clause (1) (b) that is directly or indirectly a subject of the investigation.

Reports to be public

(4) For the purposes of paragraph 10 of section 20 an investigative report under this section is a public report and the Advocate shall make copies of the report available to the public at a time and in a form and manner that the Advocate considers appropriate.

Notice of steps to Advocate

(5) The Advocate may request that any person or entity referred to in clause (1) (b) to whom a recommendation is directed notify the Advocate of the steps, if any, that the person or entity proposes to give effect to the Advocate’s recommendation.

Report to Premier and Legislative Assembly

(6) If within a reasonable time after the report is made no action is taken which, in the Advocate’s opinion, is adequate or appropriate, the Advocate, in his or her discretion and, after considering any comments made by or on behalf of the Minister, a children’s aid society or residential licensee or any other person or entity affected,

(a) may send a copy of the report and recommendations to the Premier; and

(b) may, after sending a copy of the report to the Premier, make such report to the Legislative Assembly on the matter as he or she thinks fit.

Inclusion of comments in report

(7) The Advocate shall attach to any report sent under subsection (6) any comments made by or on behalf of the Minister, a children’s aid society or residential licensee or any other person or entity affected.

Offences and Penalties

Offences

21.2 (1) Every person commits an offence who without lawful justification or excuse,

(a) wilfully obstructs, hinders or resists the Advocate or any other person in the performance of his or her functions under this Act;

(b) refuses or wilfully fails to comply with any lawful requirement of the Advocate or any other person under this Act; or

(c) wilfully makes any false statement or misleads or attempts to mislead the Advocate or any other person in the exercise of his or her functions under this Act.

Penalties

(2) Every person who commits an offence is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000.

Commencement

13. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

Schedule 10
Amendments to the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009

1. (1) Subsections 7 (1), (2) and (3) of the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009 are repealed and the following substituted:

Duty to give copies to Commissioner

(1) The Integrity Commissioner may require the expenses officer of a public entity selected by the Commissioner to give copies to the Commissioner of all expense claims made by the relevant designated persons during the period described in subsection (2) for expenses that are reviewable under section 3.

Duration of period

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), the period consists of,

(a) a future period specified by the Commissioner in respect of the public entity; and

(b) the six months immediately preceding the specified period.

(2) Subsection 7 (4) of the Act is amended by striking out “An expenses officer” at the beginning and substituting “The expenses officer”.

(3) Subsection 7 (5) of the Act is amended by striking out “The Commissioner may make a written request to an expenses officer” at the beginning and substituting “At any time during which subsection (1) applies in respect of a public entity, the Commissioner may make a request to the expenses officer”.

(4) Subsection 7 (6) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

Compliance within specified time

(6) The expenses officer shall comply with a requirement or a request under this section within the time specified by the Commissioner.

Criteria for selection

(7) In selecting a public entity for the purposes of this section, the Commissioner shall consider the criteria prescribed under clause 10 (1) (d), and may consider any additional criteria that the Commissioner considers appropriate.

2. Section 8 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Transition

(6) This section continues to apply to expense claims given under section 7 as it read immediately before the day subsection 1 (1) of Schedule 10 to the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 came into force.

3. (1) Clause 10 (1) (d) of the Act is repealed and the following substituted:

(d) respecting criteria to be considered by the Integrity Commissioner in selecting public entities for the purposes of section 7, subject to subsection (3).

(2) Section 10 of the Act is amended by adding the following subsection:

Same

(3) Before a regulation may be made under clause (1) (d), the Minister responsible for the administration of this Act shall consult with the Integrity Commissioner.

4. Section 11 of the Act is repealed.

Commencement

5. This Schedule comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The Bill enacts a new Act and amends a number of other Acts. The new Act and amendments are set out in separate Schedules.

Schedule 1
Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Act, 2014

The Lieutenant Governor in Council is given the authority to establish compensation frameworks governing the compensation of certain executives in the broader public sector. These frameworks would establish mandatory restrictions on the compensation of executives to which they would apply.

The Management Board of Cabinet is given power to obtain information regarding compensation from broader public sector employers.

Once a compensation framework applies to an employer, it and its employees are no longer bound by Part II.1 (Compensation Arrangements) of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010.

Methods are established to recover the amounts of overpayments made contrary to the legislation.

Powers to make directives are provided for.

A complementary amendment is made to the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010.

Schedule 2
Amendments to the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010

The Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 is amended by adding a Part V.1, authorizing the Management Board of Cabinet to issue directives requiring designated broader public sector organizations to prepare and publish business plans and any other specified business or financial documents. The Management Board of Cabinet is also authorized to make guidelines with respect to the preparation and publication of such plans and documents by publicly funded organizations.

In addition, amendments to sections 14 and 15 of the Act require local health integration networks and hospitals to prepare attestations confirming compliance with directives issued by the Management Board of Cabinet on the preparation and publication of business plans and other business or financial documents.

Schedule 3
Amendments to the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 and Related Amendments

The title of the Cabinet Ministers’ and Opposition Leaders’ Expenses Review and Accountability Act, 2002 is changed to the Politicians’ Expenses Review Act, 2002. References to the current title of the Act are changed accordingly in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The Act is amended to require the publication of the allowable expenses incurred by Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, Opposition leaders and their staff. The Minister responsible for the administration of the Act (for expenses claimed by Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants and their staff) and the Speaker (for expenses claimed by Opposition leaders and their staff) must, within 90 days of being notified by the Integrity Commissioner that the claimed expenses are allowable expenses, post the allowable expenses on a website, including the name and title of the person who incurred the expense and other information set out in section 15 of the Act. The Lieutenant Governor in Council is authorized to make rules about the information to be posted or not posted on the websites.

Housekeeping amendments are also made: references throughout the Act to the Chair of the Management Board of Cabinet are changed to the Minister responsible for the administration of the Act; spent provisions that dealt with transitional matters when the Act was first passed are repealed.

Schedule 4
Amendments to the Excellent Care for All Act, 2010

The Excellent Care for All Act, 2010 is amended.

The functions of the Council under that Act are expanded in the area of patient relations.

The position of patient ombudsman is created. The patient ombudsman shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and employed by the Council.

The functions of the patient ombudsman are,

(a) to receive and respond to complaints from patients and former patients of a health sector organization, and other persons if prescribed;

(b) to facilitate the resolution of complaints made by patients and former patients of a health sector organization, and other persons if prescribed;

(c) to undertake investigations of complaints made by patients and former patients of a health sector organization, and other persons if prescribed, and to undertake investigations of health sector organizations on the patient ombudsman’s own initiative;

(d) to make recommendations to health sector organizations following the conclusion of investigations; and

(e) to do anything else provided for in the regulations.

Provisions concerning complaint facilitation, investigations, reports and other matters are included.

Assorted amendments of a house-keeping nature are also made.

Schedule 5
Amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is amended by adding a duty for heads to ensure that measures are in place to preserve the records in their institution in accordance with applicable laws, rules and policies.

In addition, section 61 of the Act, dealing with offences, is amended to,

(a) add the wilful concealment, alteration or destruction of records as an offence;

(b) in a prosecution for the new offence, increase the six month limitation period currently applicable to offences under the section to two years from the day evidence of the offence is discovered; and

(c) state that in a prosecution for an offence under the section, the court may take precautions such as conducting hearings in private or sealing court files in order to avoid the disclosure of specified information.

The same additions and amendments are made to the corresponding provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Schedule 6
Amendments to the Legislative Assembly Act

The Legislative Assembly Act is amended to add section 68, which establishes a duty for the Speaker to post online information respecting payments made to members of the Assembly under section 67 of the Act for specified expenses. Subsection 68 (2) lists the information that must be posted with respect to each payment. Under subsection 68 (3), discretion is given to the Board of Internal Economy to determine the timing and manner of the posting. A related discretion is given to the Board in subsection 68 (4) to exclude information from posting in specified circumstances.

In addition, section 67 of the Act is amended to establish a duty for the Speaker to post online any amounts, limits, maximums, rules and other information that the Board of Internal Economy determines, prescribes, establishes or authorizes under that section with respect to the expenses to which section 68 applies. An archive of the amounts, limits, maximums, rules and other information must be maintained.

Schedule 7
Amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998

A new heading is added to the Act: “Prohibited Lobbying Activities”. The prohibitions in the current Act (in section 4.1 and subsections 18 (5) and (6)) and new prohibitions are collected together under this heading: section 3.1 (currently section 4.1 of the Act), which prohibits consultant lobbyists from being paid from public funds to mirror the prohibition on clients against paying for lobbyist services with public funds under the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010; section 3.2, which prohibits consultant lobbyists from accepting work on a contingent payment basis; section 3.3, which prohibits consultant lobbyists from providing advice to and lobbying public office holders at the same time on the same subject matter; and section 3.4 (currently subsections 18 (5), (6) and (7) of the Act), which prohibits both consultant lobbyists and in-house lobbyists from knowingly placing a public office holder in a position of real or potential conflict of interest.

Current sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Act require the filing of returns in respect of consultant lobbyists (section 4) and in-house lobbyists (sections 5 and 6). Section 5, which currently requires that returns be filed by the in-house lobbyists themselves, is amended to require a single filing by the senior officer of the employer, as in section 6, and to require that returns filed under section 5 contain similar information to the returns filed under section 6. The definition of “in-house lobbyist” for the purpose of section 5 is amended to include paid directors as well as employees and to include, similar to the definition in section 6, employees and paid directors whose lobbying duties, together with those of the employer’s other employees and paid directors, would constitute a significant part of the duties of one employee or director.

Sections 4, 5 and 6 are further amended in the following ways: the filed returns must indicate whether the lobbyist was previously in public office and the goal of the reported lobbying; the information currently required about government funding to a consultant lobbyist’s client or an in-house lobbyist’s employer is to be tied to the government’s previous fiscal year; other information may be required by regulation; if a lobbyist lobbies a minister or other member of the Legislative Assembly or a person on his or her staff, the return is to provide the name of the minister’s or member’s office (for example, the Minister of x or the Member for the riding of x); the deadlines for filing return confirmations under section 4 and returns under sections 5 and 6 are made more flexible by allowing filing shortly before the expiration of the previous reporting period.

The registrar’s authority in current section 15 of the Act to issue advisory opinions and interpretation bulletins is expanded to cover lobbyists’ conduct. The registrar is authorized to issue a lobbyists’ code of conduct.

New sections 17.1 to 17.11 are added to the Act to allow the registrar to conduct investigations into any alleged non-compliance with a provision of the Act or of the regulations. If the registrar finds that a person did not comply with the Act or the regulations, he or she may impose one or both of the following penalties: the person may be prohibited from lobbying for up to two years, and the registrar may publicize the non-compliance, including the name of the person and any other information the registrar considers necessary to explain the finding of non-compliance. The registrar may impose the same penalties if a person is convicted of an offence under the Act. In both cases, the registrar is to take into account the gravity of the non-compliance or offence and the number of previous incidents of non-compliance by or convictions against the person in deciding on the penalty to be imposed.

Under new section 17.12, the Integrity Commissioner, who is appointed the registrar under the Act, is required to include information about the investigations conducted (or not conducted) in the annual report he or she makes under the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994.

New offences are added for non-compliance with the prohibitions added by sections 3.2 and 3.3 of the Act. The penalty on conviction of any offence under the Act is increased from a maximum fine of $25,000 to a maximum fine of $25,000 for a first offence and a maximum fine of $100,000 for subsequent offences.

Housekeeping amendments to the Act are made as follows: the definitions of “client”, “consultant lobbyist” and “payment” are moved from section 4 to section 1 of the Act, since they are used throughout the Act, and not only in section 4; the requirement in section 4 of the Act to report on the members of a coalition that is the consultant lobbyist’s client is rewritten to refer to an organization, which is a defined term in the Act, rather than a coalition; the French versions of the definition of “public office holder” and of the phrases “business address” and “advisory opinions” are amended, as well as the French versions of subsections 4 (5) and (8) and 6 (4); the phrase “name and business address” in sections 4, 5 and 6 are changed to “business name and address”; transitional provisions that are spent are repealed.

Schedule 8
Amendments to the Ombudsman Act and Related Amendments

The jurisdiction of the Ombudsman under the Ombudsman Act is currently limited to investigations in respect of governmental organizations. The Act is amended to expand that jurisdiction to investigations in respect of public sector bodies, which are defined as governmental organizations and any other entity to which the Act applies under section 13. The latter may include one or more of municipal sector entities (municipalities, local boards and municipally-controlled corporations), school boards and universities. Corresponding definitions for many of these terms are added to the Act.

Various amendments are made to the Act in order to reflect the expanded jurisdiction. Sections 1.1 to 1.3 are added to set out who is considered to be the head of public sector bodies that are not governmental organizations. Subsections 14 (2.1) to (2.6), which relate to a specific and existing investigation power provided for under the Municipal Act, 2001 and the City of Toronto Act, 2006, are moved into their own section, 14.1. Subsection 14 (4) of the Act is amended to carve out exceptions to the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction in the school board and university contexts, and subsection 14 (4.2) is added to clarify when the Ombudsman can investigate municipal sector entities respecting matters that are within the jurisdiction of a municipal Ombudsman provided for under the Municipal Act, 2001 or the City of Toronto Act, 2006.

Subsection 18 (3.1) adds rules respecting documents provided by the Ombudsman to a public sector body or person for comment before making his or her report. Section 18.1 is added to state that meetings held by a university or prescribed governmental organization relating to an ongoing investigation under the Ombudsman Act respecting the university or governmental organization must be closed to the public (corresponding amendments are made for school board meetings by way of amendments to section 207 of the Education Act, and for municipal meetings by way of amendments to section 190 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001). Subsection 21 (4) of the Act is limited so that the Ombudsman may only send copies of his or her report and recommendations in accordance with that subsection to the Premier, and report to the Legislative Assembly, in the case of an investigation relating to a governmental organization. However, under the new subsection 21 (6), the Ombudsman may make reports respecting other public sector bodies available to the public.

Section 25 is amended to address the entry by the Ombudsman, for the purposes of an investigation, into a dwelling; a new subsection (2.1) requires the consent of the occupier or a warrant obtained under the section. Subsection 25 (2) of the Act is amended to require the Ombudsman to give the head of a public sector entity a reasonable opportunity to give reasons why entry to premises under the section, dwelling or otherwise, is not appropriate.

Section 29 is added to confirm that specified constitutional rights respecting education must not be adversely affected by the exercise of the Ombudsman’s authority, and that the authority must be exercised in a manner consistent with and respectful of those rights. Section 30 is added to require the Ombudsman to consider principles of academic freedom when undertaking investigations relating to universities. Section 31 authorizes regulations to be made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in order to address transitional matters arising from these amendments, and, in the case of any conflict, such regulations prevail over any other Act or regulation.

Finally, various provisions of the Act are amended to change references to governmental organizations to public sector bodies, and to include distinct references to municipal sector entities, school boards, or universities as needed.

Complementary amendments are made to the City of Toronto Act, 2006, the Education Act, the Ministry of Correctional Services Act and the Municipal Act, 2001. Generally, these amendments reflect the changes in terminology made by the amendments to the Ombudsman Act, and take into account that the Ombudsman may investigate municipal sector entities under the Ombudsman Act. As well, clause 190.1 (1) (b) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and clause 239.1 (b) of the Municipal Act, 2001 are re-enacted to expand the circumstances in which a person may make a request under those clauses for an investigation by the Ombudsman respecting municipal meetings that were closed to the public.

Finally, a spent transitional provision enacted by the Legislative Assembly Statute Law Amendment Act, 1999 is repealed.

Schedule 9
Amendments to the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007

The Schedule amends the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth Act, 2007 largely to provide the Advocate with an investigative role, but also to include some housekeeping changes.

The purpose of the Act, set out in section 1, is amended to include conducting investigations with respect to children’s aid societies services and services provided by certain residential licensees. The Advocate must appoint a director of investigations. The director of investigations must have significant experience in investigations and child protection.

The director of investigations must establish an investigative team that consists of individuals with significant experience in investigations and child protection and may also include individuals with significant experience in other areas relevant to investigations.

Section 15, which deals with the functions of the Advocate, is amended to include the investigative function of the Advocate. There are concomitant amendments to section 16, the powers of the Advocate, to distinguish between the powers of the Advocate with respect to his or her functions providing advocacy on behalf of children and his or her powers of investigation.

The powers of the Advocate with respect to his or her investigative function are set out in section 16.1. In certain specified situations, the Advocate is required to consult with the Minister of Children and Youth Services, a children’s aid society or residential licensee or other person or entity in relation to an investigation.

The Attorney General may certify that in certain situations the Advocate cannot require giving information, answering questions or producing documents. In addition, the Advocate is prohibited from investigating certain listed matters.

After completing an investigation, the Advocate shall make a report outlining the reasons for undertaking the investigation, containing the Advocate’s recommendations and addressing any other matter the Advocate considers appropriate. The Advocate shall provide a copy of the report to the person or entity to which the recommendations are addressed but shall not disclose the name of or any identifying information about the child to whom the investigation relates. The Advocate is required to make the report public and in certain situations may send a copy to the Premier and make a report to the Legislative Assembly.

An offence section is added to the Act.

Schedule 10
Amendments to the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009

Section 7 of the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009 is amended to change the duty to give copies of expense claims to the Integrity Commissioner. Under the current section, the expenses officers of each public entity must submit copies of expense claims made by the relevant designated persons during the prescribed period, and the copies must be submitted by the prescribed date or dates. The amendments to section 7 remove the general application of these requirements, and give the Commissioner the discretion to select public entities in respect of which the duty to provide copies of expense claims applies.

If a public entity is selected by the Commissioner, its expenses officer must, within the time specified by the Commissioner, submit copies of expense claims made during a future period specified by the Commissioner and during the six months immediately preceding that period. In selecting a public entity for the purposes of the amended section 7, the Commissioner must consider the prescribed criteria and may consider additional criteria as appropriate. A regulation-making authority is added to permit the Lieutenant Governor in Council to prescribe the criteria, but that authority cannot be exercised unless the Minister responsible for the administration of the Act first consults with the Commissioner.

A transition provision (subsection 8 (6)) is added to provide that expense claims given under section 7 before the amendments to that section come into force may continue to be reviewed under section 8 of the Act.

Also, section 11 of the Act, a transitional provision that is spent, is repealed.


Strengthening Accountability and Increasing Transparency – News Release

News Release

Strengthening Accountability and Increasing Transparency
 Ontario Moving Forward With Substantive Accountability Measures

Office of the Premier

Ontario Logo - SquareThe Ontario government will introduce a comprehensive piece of legislation that, if passed, would strengthen political accountability, enhance oversight, and increase transparency across government and the Broader Public Sector (BPS).

The proposed legislation would build on the province’s Open Government initiative. The legislation would, if passed, strengthen government accountability by:

  • Extending the role of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities, school boards and publicly funded universities
  • Establishing a Patient Ombudsman to assist patients in resolving complaints against public hospitals, Long-Term Care Homes and Community Care Access Centres
  • Giving the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth new powers, like those of the Ontario Ombudsman, to investigate matters relating to children and youth involved in the child protection system
  • Amending the Lobbyists Registration Act to improve reporting requirements for lobbyists, address conflicts of interest and increase fines for offences.

The proposed legislation would also enhance government accountability by:

  • Requiring expense information for MPPs to be posted online for out-of-riding travel, hotels, meals and hospitality
  • Requiring expense information for Cabinet Ministers, Parliamentary Assistants, Opposition Leaders, and their respective staff to be posted online
  • Amending the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to require all organizations under the act to securely preserve their records.

Finally, it would increase transparency in classified agencies and the BPS by:

  • Authorizing the government to set compensation frameworks for senior executives in the BPS, including hard caps
  • Providing the Ontario Integrity Commissioner with the ability to review executive expenses in selected organizations to all 197 classified agencies and four hydro entities
  • Requiring BPS organizations to publish their business plans and other documents online.

In addition, the province would also implement the following non-legislative measures:

  • Post Cabinet Ministers’ attendance records at Question Period
  • Seek consent from opposition House Leaders to improve how MPP voting records are posted online
  • Require all appointees and senior executives in classified agencies to post their expense information online.

Setting a high standard for accountability and transparency is part of the government’s plan to make it more open and accountable to the people of Ontario.

Quick Facts

  • If passed, this legislation would make Ontario a leader in expense reporting by making it a legislated requirement.
  • The Ontario Ombudsman currently has authority to investigate all government ministries, Crown corporations, agencies, boards and commissions, tribunals and colleges.
  • The Ontario Integrity Commissioner currently has the authority under the Public Sector Expenses Review Act, 2009 to review executive expense claims from 17 classified agencies and the four hydro organizations.
  • The Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive, which was revised in 2010, sets out the rules for claiming reimbursement for business-related travel, meal and hospitality expenses of senior management in the public sector.

Quotes

Wynne

We want to ensure that the people of Ontario have the open, accountable and accessible government that they deserve. These new measures, if passed, would put us on track to become one of the most transparent governments in the country.”

Kathleen Wynne  Premier of Ontario

Milloy

Our government continues to build on the actions the Premier has taken to make openness and transparency a priority. This legislation would, if passed, strengthen political accountability, open up the business of government, and give our watchdogs more power.”

John Milloy  Minister of Government Services


Ontario Ombudsman oversight to be expanded to MUSH sector Marin welcomes historic move to provide scrutiny of municipalities, school boards, hospitals and more

Ontario Ombudsman LogoDate: 2014-03-06

(TORONTO – March 6, 2014) Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today welcomed the provincial government’s announcement that it will extend his office’s mandate into the “MUSH sector” – the vast, provincially-funded broader public sector comprising municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals, as well as long-term care homes, children’s aid societies and police.
The changes will allow citizens to complain about government-funded organizations that have historically been immune to the Ombudsman’s independent scrutiny.

The bill would empower the Ombudsman to investigate public complaints about municipalities, universities and school boards. It also creates a new Patient Ombudsman for complaints about hospitals and long-term care homes, and gives the existing Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth the power to investigate children’s aid societies.

“At long last, Ontario is poised to rectify the accident of history that left millions of citizens with nowhere to complain about the public bodies that touched their lives most closely,” Mr. Marin said. “If this bill passes, it will finally open the MUSH sector to the same kind of independent investigative scrutiny given to every other aspect of the provincial government.”

Because the Ombudsman reports not to government but to the Legislative Assembly as a whole, the change is an assurance of greater transparency for all MPPs and the public, Mr. Marin stressed. “The Ombudsman and other officers of the Legislature serve as checks and balances on government, ensuring that it – in all its complexity – is functioning efficiently and with the confidence of its citizens,” he said. “Ensuring the MUSH sector is subject to the same checks and balances is simply good for democracy, period.”

Ontario’s first Ombudsman, Arthur Maloney, called for the MUSH sector to be subject to his office’s scrutiny in a report published in March 1979, and his successors have reiterated this position. Since Mr. Marin’s appointment in 2005, his office has received than 20,000 complaints about MUSH sector bodies, even though the public is aware that they can’t be investigated.

These have included concerns about corruption in municipal government, mistreatment of patients in hospitals and long-term care homes, school board policies on bullying, deaths of children in CAS care, and unfairness to university students. Wherever possible, Ombudsman staff refer complainants to other appropriate authorities.

The new legislation comes in the wake of years of public demonstrations, rallies and calls to expand Ombudsman oversight to all or part of the MUSH sector. Since 2005, there have been more than 130 petitions and 15 private member’s bills tabled in the legislature to this effect, supported by members of all parties.

Ontario is the last province in Canada to open its MUSH sector to Ombudsman oversight. All other provinces have moved to extend the jurisdiction of their ombudsmen to hospitals, long-term care and child protection.

“If these measures are implemented, Ontario will go from being dead last in Canada to one of the leaders in MUSH sector scrutiny,” said Mr. Marin, whose office was consulted in the final stages of drafting the bill. “I look forward to seeing this bill come before the Legislature. It is a strong step toward a more democratic, accountable and open Ontario.”

The Ontario Ombudsman’s office handles about 20,000 public complaints per year, has 80 staff and a budget of just over $11 million. It resolves individual complaints quickly wherever possible and also investigates broad systemic issues affecting large numbers of people. The Ombudsman’s recommendations are not binding, but have been overwhelmingly accepted by government. Ombudsman investigations since 2005 have sparked widespread reforms, including better screening of newborn babies, improved security for lottery players, more transparent property tax assessment, more compensation for crime victims and fairer drug funding policies.
For backgrounder and a statement from the Ombudsman, go to www.ombudsman.on.ca The Ombudsman will speak to journalists in a conference call at 1:45 p.m. – audio will be posted thereafter at www.ombudsman.on.ca. On Twitter: @Ont_Ombudsman

For further information, please contact:

Ashley Bursey, Assistant Manager, Communications,
416-586-3521,
[email protected]

Elena Yunusov, Communications Officer,
416-586-3525,
[email protected]

Laura Nadeau, Communications Officer,
416-586-3402,
[email protected]


One Week Remaining to Punish Liberals for Preventing Oversight of the MUSH Sector

To the Ontario Coalition for Accountability and thousands of it’s members, MPP’s voting against accountability is an election issue. The Ontario Liberal Party are doing everything possible to prevent investigations of Municipalities, Universities, School Boards, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Long-Term Care Facilities, Police, and Children’s Aid Societies or “MUSH” sector as it’s known. vote

So, if you are living in or around Etobicoke-Lakeshore,   London West,   Ottawa South,   Scarborough-Guildwood  or  Windsor-Tecumseh,  we desperately need your help to prevent Ontario Liberals from regaining seats and have less than one week until the By-Elections on August 1, 2013.

 We need all members to consider spending a few moments completing any of the following steps and if you have any questions, please ask!

 

  • Contact any of their riding association to offer help,
  • Arrive early at candidates debates to pose questions about accountability,
  • Help with canvasing,
  • Consider a donation (no matter where you live),
  • Yard signs,
  • Spend a few minutes each day supporting your local candidate on local news sites and on Facebook & Twitter,
  • Get out and Vote on August 1!

Candidates to Consider Endorsing (updated 07/11/2013)

Ontario NDP (our biggest supporters and strongly recommended)
 Etobicoke-Lakeshore - P.C. Choo
 London West - Peggy Sattler
 Ottawa South - Bronwyn Funiciello
 Scarborough-Guildwood - Adam Giambrone
 Windsor-Tecumseh: Percy Hatfield
Ontario Libertarian Party
 Etobicoke-Lakeshore - Hans Kunov
 London West - Geoffrey Serbee
 Ottawa South - Jean-Serge Brisson
 Scarborough-Guildwood - Heath Thomas
 Windsor-Tecumseh - Dan Dominato
Ontario PC Party
 Etobicoke-Lakeshore - Doug Holyday
 London West - Ali Chahbar
 Ottawa South - Matt Young
 Scarborough-Guildwood - Ken Kirupa
 Windsor-Tecumseh - Robert de Verteuil
Green
 London West - Gary Brown, Green Party
 Etobicoke-Lakeshore - Angela Salewsky

Ontario Ombudsman Annual Report 2012-2013 – HTML

Date: 2013-07-08

2012-2013 ANNUAL REPORT

 

Watch the ‘behind the scenes’ annual report video

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Ombudsman’s Message

The Multipurpose Ombudsman

The Barometer

The Horsefly

The Oil Can

The Safety Valve

Our Indoor Voice

Special Weapons and Tactics

Unfinished Business

No Rush for MUSH

Anybody but the Ombudsman

Hospital horrors

Long-term care lapses

Ornge air ambulances – flying out of reach

Give us a “C” – children’s aid societies

OMLET still cooking

Closing Thoughts

The Year in Review

Beyond Scrutiny: The push for MUSH

“M” – Municipalities

“U” – Universities

“S” – School Boards

“H” – Hospitals

Long-Term Care Homes

Children’s Aid Societies

Police

Operations Overview

Complaint Trends and Significant Cases in 2012-2013

Ministry of the Attorney General

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Ministry of Energy

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ministry of Government Services / Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ministry of Natural Resources

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Ministry of Transportation

Training and Consultation

Communications and Outreach

Special Ombudsman Response Team

SORT investigations completed in 2012-2013

The Code – Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

In the Line of Duty – Ontario Provincial Police and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Dental implants – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ongoing SORT investigations

Adults with developmental disabilities in crisis – Ministry of Community and Social Services

Monitoring of drivers with uncontrolled hypoglycemia – Ministry of Transportation 

Completed SORT assessments in 2012-2013

Slots at Racetracks program – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Updates on previous SORT investigations

Non-emergency medical transportation services – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ministry of Transportation

Caught in the Act – Expansion of police powers for Toronto G20 summit – Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Monitoring of long-term care homes – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Oversight Undermined and Oversight Unseen – Ministry of the Attorney

General and Special Investigations Unit

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Care and custody of children with severe special needs – Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Case Summaries

Ministry of the Attorney General

Ministry of Community and Social Services

Ministry of Energy

Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Government Services

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ministry of Labour

Ministry of Natural Resources

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Ministry of Transportation

Your Feedback

Appendix 1 – Complaint Statistics Appendix 2 – How We Work Appendix 3 – About the Office Appendix 4 – Financial Report

 

Ombudsman’s Message

The Multipurpose Ombudsman

The stories in this report, arising from the 19,726 cases we received in 2012-2013, demonstrate how my Office uses a variety of tools to resolve individual and systemic concerns. Picture a “Swiss Army”-style knife with all sorts of useful accountability gadgets: A barometer, a horsefly, an oil can, a safety valve and more. Like a barometer, my Office alerts citizens, legislators, and government organizations to trending complaints before problems escalate into crises. Like a horsefly, we nip at bureaucratic heels and nudge officials to change direction. Like an oil can, we reduce friction, facilitate resolution and smooth over bureaucratic tangles. And like a safety valve, we act as a last resort to protect citizens’ rights, health and welfare – and forestall systemic disaster.

The Barometer

In 2012-2013, we continued to work proactively with government organizations – particularly those that generate a large volume of complaints – to address systemic issues. A case in point is the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), which once again topped the list as the most complained-about Ontario agency. We met regularly with FRO officials to discuss persistent problems such as a lack of aggressive enforcement, poor record keeping and administrative errors. Our efforts were inspired by people like one woman who was owed nearly $35,000 in child support that the FRO unwittingly held in a generic account, and another who finally received more than $12,000 after we persuaded the FRO to step up its enforcement efforts. These and similar cases can be found in the Case Summaries section of this report.

We also kept close watch on the Ministry of Transportation’s progress in tackling the “ghost licence” issue that we revealed last year. A single complaint from a man convicted of drunk driving led to the discovery that the Ministry had generated more than 1,000,000 dummy licence records since 1966 – whenever it could not match notices of driving offences, collisions or medical suspensions with existing Ontario driver licences. We alerted the Ministry to the risk that some of what it calls “master” licences could be duplicates, meaning some individuals who were supposed to be under suspension might still be on the roads with valid licences. Our red flag prompted the Ministry to review and reconcile its records to better protect public safety. More on this case and others can be found in the Operations Overview section of this report.

The Horsefly

Many complaints that we receive require the “horsefly” approach – direct and focused prodding to wake officials up and get them to move in the right direction. This technique is often successfully applied to stand up for the “little guy” – those too vulnerable and without the means to make themselves heard.

For instance, we uncovered a computer glitch that shortchanged a man thousands of dollars in Ontario Disability Support Program benefits. We also convinced the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee to do the right thing after it wrongly charged legal fees to a client for talking to our Office about his complaint.

The horsefly technique is well suited to cases of rulitis – slavish bureaucratic devotion to the rules, to the exclusion of good judgment. We used it in a particularly acute case this year, where the Office of the Registrar General was refusing to issue a birth certificate for a man’s baby daughter without an application from the mother, who had died shortly after childbirth.

The Oil Can

By contrast, many cases are resolved through a smoother approach, where bureaucratic machinery is lubricated by an injection of compassion, common sense and creative solutions.

We continued to help many families of adults with developmental disabilities, by facilitating communication between them, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the host of agencies involved in their services and care. Our case-by-case efforts paid off with enhanced protocols and practices to help children with severe disabilities transition from the child benefit system to services for adults, even as we launched a broader systemic investigation on this issue.

Our oil can was also applied to convince Hydro One to address unfair overbillings and to help students with disability grants through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

The Safety Valve

In cases where life, health and welfare are at stake, my Office is often the last resort for desperate citizens. This year, we helped a 72-year-old man with a rare form of cancer get money for specialized out-of-country treatment after his request was denied, even though the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care had paid for similar therapy for others. Our efforts also sparked the Ministry to improve its processes to ensure proper tracking of these cases in future.

In another case, although Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage was provided for genetic testing in the U.S. to benefit siblings of a 14-year-old boy who had died suddenly, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care denied coverage for families in similar circumstances while it pondered its funding policy. Through escalating discussions up the chain of command at the Ministry, we were able to coax it to change its practice and review such requests on a case-by-case basis.

Our Indoor Voice

While my Office is best known for its “outside” voice – that is, our reports on systemic investigations by our Special Ombudsman Response Team – a great deal of our work is accomplished through a subtle and collaborative approach. We help thousands of Ontarians with straightforward, sensitive or complex issues through confidential, informal dispute resolution.

For instance, since 2009, we have had discussions with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care about developing a program for people who need dental implants for medical reasons, often as a result of severe conditions such as cancer. The Ministry had always considered all dental implants to be cosmetic and thus ineligible for Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverage. But this past April, it launched its new Oral and Maxillofacial Reconstruction Program to fund certain prostheses to restore oral function for patients who have no treatment alternatives. This quiet victory for vulnerable people represents the culmination of three years of behind-the-scenes talks, informal investigation and exertion of moral suasion.

In a similar fashion, we encouraged the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to address delays and inefficiencies in its private security licence application and complaint processes, and we prompted the Death Investigation Oversight Council to improve its communication strategies and use clear, evidence-based reasons in its decisions.

Special Weapons and Tactics

There are cases, however, where shuttle diplomacy and alternative dispute resolution will simply not get the job done. These are the cases where our Special Ombudsman Response Team, or SORT – our systemic field investigation unit – excels.

Our latest ongoing SORT investigation – into how the Ministry of Community and Social Services responds to an apparent lack of services for adults with developmental disabilities who are in crisis – had drawn well over 800 complaints as of the writing of this report. These cases, which we first identified as a trend in 2011-2012, include many heart-rending stories of families with nowhere to turn and young adults with severe special needs ending up in shelters, hospitals and even jail.

SORT also tackled difficult and thorny issues in the two major investigations that resulted in reports in 2012-2013 – operational stress injuries among police, and the use of excessive force against inmates in correctional facilities.

My report In the Line of Duty, issued in October 2012, revealed serious gaps in how the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services address operational stress injuries among police, including depression, addictions, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. The SORT investigation uncovered a persistent stigma against affected officers and a lack of support services for them and their families. The OPP and the Ministry have taken my recommendations seriously, and SORT will monitor their progress as they work towards substantive reform.

“ Please convey to the complete investigative team who participated in this inquiry how gratifying their work has been to the policing community. Generations of police officers will have their lives greatly enriched because of their efforts… I know that through your efforts, lives will be saved. ”
Retired OPP Detective-Inspector Bruce Kruger, whose complaint sparked the In the Line of Duty investigation

 

Last month, I released The Code, my report on SORT’s investigation into how the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services responds to allegations of excessive use of force. This investigation arose from a disturbing trend we identified in 2010 involving cases where correctional staff assaulted inmates and covered up the incidents. We discovered an entrenched “code of silence” amongst some correctional officers who helped colleagues hide brazen acts of assault against vulnerable inmates. The Ministry has undertaken to implement my recommendations, and I will monitor its progress closely.

Unfinished Business

Political events in the past year – including the prorogation of the Legislative Assembly after Premier Dalton McGuinty resigned his post – have unfortunately delayed implementation of reforms arising from some of our earlier investigations. For example, in June 2011, the ministers of Transportation and Health and Long-Term Care jointly announced they would introduce legislation to address non-emergency medical transportation services. This was in response to my investigation into serious concerns about the lack of regulation of these private companies, which are responsible for transporting hundreds of thousands of non-critical patients each year. With the issue apparently resolved, I opted not to release a report on the investigation at that time. But after an election, a prorogation and the elevation of one of the ministers to the Premier’s chair, there has been little progress. We continue to receive updates from the ministries to ensure this initiative moves forward.

Similarly, in the wake of my December 2010 report Caught in the Act, concerning the exceptional police powers exercised during the Toronto G20 summit in June 2010, the government moved to replace the outdated Public Works Protection Act. It introduced Bill 34, the Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, in February 2012, but it died on the order paper when the Legislature was prorogued. It was reintroduced as Bill 51 on April 2013 and has yet to pass, more than three years after that infamous June weekend. I am hopeful the bill will be implemented soon, to better safeguard civil rights in the province.

Regrettably, the Ministry of the Attorney General has still not moved forward on my recommendations for new legislation to strengthen the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), the independent body responsible for investigating when police are involved in incidents of serious injury or death. My reports Oversight Unseen (2008) and Oversight Undermined (2011) extensively detailed the shortcomings of the present system. As well, the Law Society of Upper Canada has discouraged lawyers from jointly representing police witnesses in SIU cases, and the Supreme Court of Canada is considering the issue of lawyers vetting police notes before they are submitted to the SIU. Meanwhile, a lack of police co-operation persists in many SIU investigations, frustrating the public interest. I will continue to observe developments in this area, and consider whether a third investigation and report may be necessary to incite the Ministry into action.

No Rush for MUSH

Public debate continued to rage this year over whether my Office’s mandate should be extended to the MUSH sector – municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals and long-term care homes, as well as children’s aid societies, police and other organizations collectively receiving tens of billions of dollars annually in public funds.

We were forced to turn away 2,541 cases relating to these organizations in 2012-2013, many of them raising serious issues involving the health and welfare of Ontario’s most vulnerable citizens – the sick, the elderly, children and youth. No other ombudsman in Canada has such a limited mandate.

I am not the first Ontario Ombudsman to recommend elimination of the arbitrary historical exceptions shielding the MUSH sector from my Office’s scrutiny. The effort began with the first Ombudsman, Arthur Maloney, who observed in his 1979 Blueprint for the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario:

“ …it is my considered view that the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction should similarly be extended to include such organizations as hospitals, universities, boards of education, nursing homes and other such bodies financed in whole or in substantial part with public funds. ”

 

Popular grassroots opinion appears solidly behind extending Ombudsman jurisdiction into the MUSH sector. Many MPPs have also shown strong support for this change. The Standing Committee on Government Agencies is poised to consider Bill 42, the Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children’s Aid Societies), 2013, introduced by NDP MPP Monique Taylor, which would bring children’s aid societies within this Office’s jurisdiction. And since 2005, more than 100 petitions and 14 private member’s bills have supported modernization of my Office’s mandate to include the MUSH sector.

Anybody but the Ombudsman

Last June, I was extremely encouraged by the comments of then Premier McGuinty, who initiated discussions with my Office about opening the MUSH sector up to Ombudsman oversight, and told me, “It is not a matter of if, but when” this new jurisdiction would be granted. However, less than a year later, his successor Premier Kathleen Wynne rejected the overture made by the leader of the New Democratic Party to extend my Office’s authority over hospitals and long-term care homes. The result was an accountability compromise – no independent external oversight in this area, but the promise of some other, as-yet-undefined accountability measures in future. However, the Deputy Premier, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, was later quoted as saying she “wouldn’t close the door on the Ombudsman” as a means of addressing complaints in the health and long-term care system.

Political wrangling aside, there is simply no well-articulated, rational justification for barring Ombudsman oversight in the MUSH sector. Sadly, it seems that “anybody but the Ombudsman” is the rallying cry for some government insiders. Perhaps the most vehement and fever-pitched example of this came from Transportation Minister Glen Murray, who spoke heatedly against Bill 42’s proposal to extend Ombudsman oversight to children’s aid societies, saying such cases require sensitivity and prudence:

“ The Ombudsman is someone who is on the front page of the paper, whose tactics are to advocate for an individual, and hardly an office that shows that kind of discretion. ”

From Hansard, April 11, 2013

 

 

The Minister later apologized for this inaccurate public attack on my Office’s integrity.

The fact is, since I took office in April 2005, I have deliberately worked to enhance public awareness of the Ombudsman’s Office and how it can assist Ontarians. It is through demonstrating our value openly, often and in clear language, that we have been able to influence positive changes in the law, policy and practices for the benefit of Ontario’s citizens.

When I issue official reports, answer journalists’ questions or use social media, I am using the tools at my disposal to get the job done as effectively as possible, just as a carpenter uses a hammer. The style of our reports, the compelling personal stories that are included, and the clear language of our communications all help engage the interest and imagination of citizens and legislators, which is essential for an office that relies on both public input and political will to spark systemic reforms.

Our approach has not only allowed us to achieve results for the thousands of people who come to us confidentially – it has also been emulated around the world by the hundreds of watchdog organizations that have sent their staff to us for training.

More on this can be found in the Communications and Outreach and Training and Consultation sections of this report.

Hospital horrors

Ontarians put their faith in hospitals to treat the sick and injured with competence, sensitivity, and professionalism. Regrettably, a year does not go by without some systemic scandal erupting in the hospital sector, whether it is an outbreak of C. difficile, prolonged emergency room wait times, or this year’s controversy over monitoring of chemotherapy doses for cancer patients.

In 2012-2013, according to news reports, a 22-year-old man lapsed into a coma, 12 hours after being released with head injuries from Toronto Western Hospital. An 82-year-old grandmother died at Mount Sinai Hospital after falling out of bed unsupervised. A newborn baby at Humber River Regional Hospital was pronounced dead, only to be discovered alive some 90 minutes later.

Hospitals routinely respond to these horrific cases by launching internal inquiries. Typically, the results of these reviews remain confidential, leaving the public with unanswered questions and diminished confidence in the health care system. Unlike every other province in Canada, Ontario has left its 150 hospital corporations immune from Ombudsman oversight.

Internal patient relations officials owe their allegiance to their employers and do not have the means or the will to carry out credible independent investigations or report on maladministration. Consider the recent news story of the 80-year-old patient of the London Health Sciences Centre who claims he was told to clean his own messy toilet – and was chastised by an official in the hospital’s complaints department for going to the media. The hospital officially denied the report, but without an independent, impartial inquiry, the truth will never be confirmed. And even if existing internal complaint mechanisms are enhanced, as the Premier has implied they might be, they will not replace the need for external investigative oversight under the Ombudsman Act.

Our Office has the unique ability to observe systems holistically and identify trends and best practices. We have the statutory powers, the experience, and proven track record of success to promote necessary changes.

This past year, the Ontario Hospital Association board of directors considered proposals to extend my Office’s mandate to hospitals. While there may be some angst expressed about this prospect, I believe with time there may also be acceptance. In cases where government has taken over hospitals by appointing supervisors (thereby giving us temporary oversight of those facilities), we have always worked productively with these officials. Not only do we assist citizens in resolving concerns, we are also a safety valve for often beleaguered administrators, who can refer cases to us to facilitate resolution. In our experience, citizens are much more likely to accept our assessment that administrators have acted reasonably or lawfully than to take the word of involved officials.

Long-term care lapses

Ontario will soon be the only province whose Ombudsman has no authority to investigate long-term care homes, leaving the 76,000 residents of some 640 homes with no recourse to independent oversight. The only other holdout, New Brunswick, has passed new legislation and will soon extend its ombudsman’s mandate.

As with hospitals, we continue to hear nightmare tales of abuse and neglect arising from Ontario long-term care homes, but are powerless to act. Among the many stories that made headlines, an 87-year-old woman was trapped in an out-of-service elevator in a long-term care centre in Mississauga for more than 29 hours. A 72-year-old woman was beaten to death, and a 91-year-old assaulted, by a fellow resident in a Scarborough long-term care home.

And Camille Parent, concerned about his 85-year-old mother’s unexplained injuries, hid a video camera in her room at a long-term care home in Peterborough. The video revealed egregious, degrading treatment by several workers, who have since been fired. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care launched an investigation, but Mr. Parent said he would prefer independent oversight:

“ Number one thing I’d like to see is the Ombudsman get involved and take the whole investigation away from the Crown. ”

Camille Parent, speaking to CTV National News, May 19, 2013

 

 

Ornge air ambulances – flying out of reach

Ornge is a federally incorporated non-profit company. As such, it does not come within my jurisdiction. But Ornge carries out an essential public service, transporting about 18,000 patients each year by land and air ambulance, and receiving $150 million in taxpayer dollars annually to do so.

Since 2005, my Office has received 29 complaints about Ornge – five of them from whistleblowers. The issues identified were extremely serious and reflective of the flagrant breach of public trust committed by Ornge administrators, the extent of which only came to light in December 2011. Twelve of these complaints were received in 2012-2013, including claims of inadequate equipment maintenance and inspection, and problematic dispatch practices.

Over the years, we have heard complaints about the purchase of inappropriate helicopters, stonewalling of investigators, poor service, inadequate infection control, misappropriation of funds, muzzling of Ornge staff and conflicts of interest involving Ornge administrators. We referred complainants to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care or the Auditor General when appropriate, although many expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of the Ministry’s supervision of Ornge. Had we been able to delve into the issues they raised, we might have been able to address some of the problematic practices that were eventually uncovered.

On May 15, 2013, I was invited to speak to the Standing Committee on General Government about Bill 11, the Ambulance Amendment Act (Air Ambulances), 2013. The bill calls for increased accountability measures relating to designated air ambulance service providers like Ornge.

During my presentation, I observed that it is not sufficient to replace the truly independent external oversight that the Ombudsman’s Office provides with the “innersight” of internal mechanisms. Ornge’s own history demonstrates this dramatically, and new accountability measures so far have fallen short.

“ Now, what’s wrong with Bill 11? Nothing – and everything. It consists of an elaborate series of baby steps that will improve internal checks and balances – not a bad thing, but falling short of true oversight. We are ahead by a few yards, but far from a touchdown. ”

Ombudsman André Marin, submission to the Standing Committee on General Government, May 15, 2013

 

Ornge’s new Patient Advocate, for example, is a staff position, responsible for dealing with “compliments” and complaints. Similar to patient relations staff in hospitals, this individual is an employee without any effective authority. While internal complaints processes serve a useful purpose, they are a poor substitute for an independent parliamentary Ombudsman with robust powers of investigation and public reporting. Bill 11 proposes authorizing government to appoint special investigators – but again, they would report through the Ministry.

The Ombudsman is the watchdog for the elected members of the Legislative Assembly and an advocate for fairness, not the Ministry’s pet on a ministerial leash.

The Auditor General was given the ability to monitor Ornge’s finances and the Information and Privacy Commissioner will soon have authority over related information and privacy issues. There is no justification for denying potential complainants recourse to my Office as well, which performs a complementary but entirely separate role from these officers.

Give us a “C” – children’s aid societies

The province of Ontario is the legal guardian to more than 8,300 children and youth connected to child protection services, which are delivered by 46 independent, non-profit organizations run by locally elected boards of directors. Protection of children is a grave responsibility, and one that everywhere else in Canada is carried out by government. Ontario’s system is unique.

Since 2005, my Office has received 3,550 complaints and inquiries about children’s aid societies. Ontario’s children’s aid societies receive provincial funds in excess of $1.4 billion each year, but since they are considered private agencies, they fall outside of my mandate.

Media stories chronicling the deaths and abuse suffered by children involved with Ontario’s child protection system have inspired advocacy groups and successive parliamentarians to call for Ombudsman oversight of children’s aid societies. Since April 2005, some 60 petitions and 7 private member’s bills have been tabled in the Legislative Assembly to this effect. Support for Ombudsman involvement in this area is strong, as evidenced by NDP MPP Monique Taylor’s Bill 42, the Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children’s Aid Societies), 2013, passing second reading in April 2013.

Within the child welfare community, the possibility of Ombudsman oversight is a live issue. This was evident this year, when our Office was asked to do a presentation for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies on what Ombudsman oversight might mean for them.

The argument against Ombudsman oversight of children’s aid societies has always been feeble. None of the existing oversight mechanisms – the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Child and Family Services Review Board, the courts, the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Pediatric Death Review Committee – provide for broad-based investigation into systemic and individual issues of fairness and administration. What’s more, the latter two only become involved after a child dies.

Admittedly, Ombudsman oversight is not a cure-all. But it is a powerful and proven method for promoting accountability and transparency. As we do for hundreds of other provincial organizations, my Office can act as an early warning system, proactively monitor complaint trends, expose systemic flaws and obtain speedy resolutions, before a crisis hits. This important resource should not be barred to children and youth in care, their families, and concerned members of the public.

“ I know it’s too late for me, but I want future generations to be protected…. There are too many kids being abused and nobody is being held accountable for it. The Ombudsman should be able to investigate this. ”

Former CAS ward who was abused by foster father, quoted in the Toronto Sun, March 21, 2013

 

 

Children’s aid societies in Ontario also face serious financial pressures, and there is growing recognition that the system requires an overhaul. In recognition of the public funding that they receive, they are already subject to financial monitoring by the Auditor General. The time is ripe to make them accountable to the Ombudsman as well, to give vulnerable children in care and their families the same access to independent oversight as those involved with provincial agencies.

OMLET still cooking

Although municipalities remain outside of my Office’s mandate, we are the investigator for complaints about closed municipal meetings in all municipalities that have not appointed their own investigators. In 2012-2013, our Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team (OMLET) – which investigates whether municipalities have complied with the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 – dealt with 305 complaints, more than double last year’s 119. Due to the volume of these cases, I released my first separate OMLET Annual Report in October 2012. I will release my next one this coming fall. Among the issues it will address are the legislative loophole that allows municipalities to reject the independent oversight of my Office in favour of investigators of their choosing, and the lack of consequences for those that hold illegal closed meetings.

Closing Thoughts

Ombudsman oversight is an established, efficient, multipurpose accountability tool, effective in helping citizens navigate Ontario’s government programs, policies and practices, shining light on unfairness and maladministration, and promoting positive systemic change and good governance.

I remain hopeful that, rather than resorting to inferior internal accountability devices, the government of Ontario will recognize the benefits of putting the Ombudsman’s Office to use in all areas that sorely need our intervention.

The Year in Review

Beyond Scrutiny: The push for MUSH

As the accompanying chart reflects, the Ombudsman received 2,541 complaints and inquiries in 2012-2013 about the MUSH sector, comprising municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals, as well as long-term care homes, children’s aid societies and police. Although MUSH organizations deliver essential public services directly affecting Ontario citizens, they continue to operate without Ombudsman oversight – unlike in most other provinces. Ontario remains dead last in Canada in allowing its Ombudsman authority over this sector.

This situation reflects a serious accountability gap. Most MUSH agencies are subject to information and privacy legislation and financial oversight by the Auditor General. But Ontarians concerned about general maladministration and unfairness cannot complain to us about MUSH organizations – unlike the hundreds of other provincial bodies we do oversee.

This anomaly has not escaped the notice of citizens and parliamentarians. The push for Ombudsman oversight in the MUSH sector has continued to gain traction. Since 2005, some 14 private member’s bills have called for Ombudsman scrutiny of various MUSH organizations. The most recent, Bill 42, the Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children’s Aid Societies), 2013, introduced by NDP MPP Monique Taylor, was referred to the Standing Committee on Government Agencies after second reading on April 11, 2013. A previous version of this bill also received second reading, but died when the Legislature was prorogued in October 2012.

As well, a record 41 petitions calling for increased Ombudsman authority in the MUSH sector were presented in the Legislature in 2012-2013, bringing the total number of such petitions since 2005 to 106.

Despite our limited mandate, our Office assists complainants with MUSH sector issues by referring them to help where possible. Although we cannot investigate them, we track the complaints and the issues raised, and summarize them each year in this report.

“M” – Municipalities

The City of Toronto remains the only municipality in the province with its own in-house Ombudsman. However, across the province, citizens have no recourse to external, independent investigative scrutiny of municipal matters.

While we can address complaints about improperly closed meetings for some 189 municipalities that use our services as a closed meeting investigator, we were forced to turn away 1,077 complaints and inquiries about other municipal issues.

These included living conditions in public housing, the calculation and collection of property taxes, sewer and water charges, the state of roads, parks and recreational facilities, the adequacy of bylaw enforcement, local procurement practices and garbage collection services, and allegations of conflicts of interest.

There are four provinces and one territory whose ombudsmen have the authority to investigate municipal matters. For example, in 2011-2012, the Ombudsman of Nova Scotia found nine municipalities had made unauthorized expenditures of public funds, and the B.C. Ombudsperson sparked a municipal bylaw change to ensure interested property owners were notified about proposed gravel pits.

“U” – Universities

In 2012-2013, our Office received 55 complaints and inquiries about universities. Although colleges of applied arts and technology come within the Ombudsman’s investigative authority, universities do not, because of their governance structure.

Students complained to us about a variety of issues including fees, the quality of instruction, internal academic appeals, complaint processes and grade disputes.

Two provincial ombudsmen have authority in this area. For example, in 2011-2012, the B.C. Ombudsperson’s intervention led to a revised appeal policy for students facing suspension.

“S” – School Boards

We received 133 complaints and inquiries about Ontario school boards in 2012-2013, including concerns about student suspensions, lack of adequate special education supports, the use of “blocker shields” on students with autism, inadequate response to bullying, and busing problems.

Ombudsman offices in four provinces and one territory can deal with complaints about schools. For example, in 2011-2012, the Nova Scotia Ombudsman reviewed the process for selecting school bus stops, and the B.C. Ombudsperson helped improve a school district’s process for responding to complaints about bullying.

Some Ontario school board officials have begun to recognize the value of Ombudsman oversight. In spring 2012, the Toronto Catholic District School Board considered (but later rejected) creating an independent third-party ombudsman. In 2013, a school trustee sought support from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board to extend our Office’s mandate to school boards, as well as other MUSH bodies, but was unsuccessful.

Under supervision: Although the Ombudsman does not normally have jurisdiction over school boards, that changes when the Ministry of Education appoints a supervisor to take control of a board. On August 28, 2012, it appointed a supervisor for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. We received 7 complaints about this board in 2012-2013, primarily about employment-related issues. We made regular inquiries with the supervisor to monitor the board’s progress in implementing administrative improvements.

“H” – Hospitals

Our Office was forced to turn away 369 cases involving hospitals in 2012-2013. These covered an array of issues, including emergency room, surgery and cancer treatment wait times, billing practices, breaches of patient confidentiality, poor infection control, discharge planning, and inadequate communication.

Ontario is alone in barring its Ombudsman from considering complaints relating to hospitals. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan provided its Ombudsman with authority to review decisions of a broader range of publicly funded health entities in 2012, including some privately owned health care organizations. Other ombudsmen obtained concrete results for citizens who complained about hospital administration. For example, in 2011-2012, the Ombudsman of Nova Scotia tackled concerns about patient charting and autopsy report delays. The B.C. Ombudsperson’s work led to improvements in a hospital’s admission practices. Quebec’s Ombudsman addressed emergency room wait times, quality of services in addiction treatment facilities, and the transfer of elderly residents to long-term care facilities in a bid to unclog a hospital’s emergency services.

“ Your personal interest, the dedication of your management team, and the quality of your actions demonstrate – yet again – your commitment to work with complete impartiality in the defence of citizens’ rights and to improve the quality of public services. I sincerely hope that this additional authority will be granted to the Ombudsman of Ontario. ” — Quebec Ombudsman Raymonde Saint-Germain, letter to Ombudsman, April 2013

 

And in the U.K., the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman released a report about systemic problems in that country’s hospitals in April 2013, after looking at 400 serious cases. The Ombudsman found that hospitals routinely treated patients and their families insensitively and without compassion.

But in Ontario, opponents to Ombudsman oversight continue to argue that it would duplicate such existing mechanisms as public reporting on patient safety measures, quality indicators and wait times, compliance with accreditation standards and accountability agreements, internal patient relations processes, freedom of information obligations and reviews by the Auditor General.

All of these measures have value, but they do not replace the need for Ombudsman oversight, nor do the “patient relations” officials at some 150 Ontario hospital corporations. Indeed, we continue to receive complaints about the internal complaints processes established by hospitals, particularly about their lack of responsiveness and objectivity. And while hospitals have been subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act since 2012, quality of care information remains shielded from disclosure.

None of the existing accountability tools in the hospital sector provides recourse to an independent, external overseer with the Ombudsman’s statutory mandate and powers to conduct impartial investigations of individual and systemic issues, publicize results, and exert moral suasion to correct unfairness and maladministration.

“ It’s really troubling that there is no ombudsman for health-care issues in Ontario. If there was more accountability, we’d all be safer. ”

Richard Kadziewicz, letter to Toronto Star, April 15, 2012

 

 

Under supervision: Our Office does have temporary jurisdiction to accept complaints about hospitals where the province has taken direct control and appointed a supervisor. The Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital in Windsor was under supervision until July 20, 2012, and we received 2 complaints about it, which were resolved. The Niagara Health System also remained under supervision in 2012-2013 and was the subject of 31 cases received by our Office, a significant decrease from last year’s 81. These included concerns about poor communication, breach of privacy, inadequate response to complaints, and a need for repairs in some facilities. Our Office triaged all of these complaints, obtained relevant facts, and followed up with the supervisor where necessary.

Long-Term Care Homes

In 2012-2013, our Office received 70 complaints and inquiries about Ontario’s long-term care homes, most from relatives of residents concerned about everything from inadequate care and understaffing to poor record keeping and allegations of abuse. We could not directly investigate these issues, but referred complainants elsewhere when we could.

Ontario will soon be the only province whose Ombudsman has no oversight of long-term care homes – once New Brunswick’s new legislation is implemented. Other ombudsmen have achieved significant results for their citizens in this area. For instance, in 2012, the Ombudsman of Saskatchewan addressed an unfair and rushed relocation of long-term care residents, and the B.C. Ombudsperson reported on a three-year investigation into the care of seniors, including recommendations designed to improve resident care. The same year, in Quebec, after an 83-year-old resident died in a special unit for individuals with dementia, the Ombudsman identified major flaws in living conditions and services, leading to corrective action.

Despite our lack of ability to investigate the homes themselves, our Office continues to follow up on our investigation into how the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care monitors them. Details on this can be found in the Special Ombudsman Response Team section of this report.

“ Families that have witnessed inexcusable institutional neglect of their beloved parents, and horrific deaths of loved ones in nursing homes, understand the critical need for the provincial ombudsman’s oversight over hospitals and long-term facilities. ”

Ellen Watson, letter to Toronto Sun, January 24, 2013

 

 

Children’s Aid Societies

This year, the Ombudsman received 472 complaints and inquiries about children’s aid societies across the province. These came from youth in care, parents, grandparents and other people concerned about failures to investigate neglect and abuse, inadequate or biased investigations, problematic child apprehensions, staff misconduct and harassment, lack of information, and denial of access to children in care. In one case, a mother alleged her child was sexally abused by an older foster sibling. Several people also questioned the qualifications of children’s aid society employees who operate without registration as social workers.

Unique in Canada, child welfare services in Ontario are delivered by private agencies. Everywhere else, child protection is administered directly by government. Other ombudsmen have been able to assist families with concerns about child protection. For instance, in March 2013, the Manitoba Ombudsman’s Office released a report emphasizing the importance of risk assessment and case planning in the child welfare system. In Quebec, in 2011-2012, after a child was hospitalized with injuries allegedly caused by his parents, the Ombudsman’s intervention led to enhanced screening to identify neglect and abuse.

In Ontario, defenders of the status quo routinely refer to existing mechanisms to review children’s aid societies, such as the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Child and Family Services Review Board, the courts, the Office of the Chief Coroner, and the Pediatric Death Review Committee. However, none of these bodies has the Ontario Ombudsman’s broad statutory powers allowing for independent investigation of individual and systemic allegations of maladministration.

While the Child and Family Services Review Board received authority to consider complaints about children’s aid societies in 2006, only those “seeking or receiving service” can request its assistance, leaving many relatives and concerned community members with no recourse. The Board is also restricted to considering procedural issues, such as whether a children’s aid society provided reasons for its actions, listened to parents’ concerns about services, or responded to a complaint. It cannot investigate or consider systemic issues involving staff conduct or practices, or address substantive matters relating to child apprehension or failure to investigate allegations of abuse. And its remedies are limited to ordering that a children’s aid society respond or provide reasons.

In 2012-2013, we received 4 complaints about the Child and Family Services Review Board, including concerns about its jurisdictional limitations.

“ [The Ombudsman] is a stellar investigator and has enormous integrity. His office is there for citizens as a mechanism to sort out problems with governments. He does not invent such problems, but tries to address them with recommendations. CAS oversight is long overdue, in some cases it is a matter of life and death. ”

Anne Patterson, letter to London Free Press, March 23, 2013

 

 

Police

In 2012-2013, the Ombudsman received 365 complaints and inquiries about police, including allegations of assault, wrongful detention and arrest, harassment and threats, inappropriate response to
individuals suffering from mental illness, inadequate investigation, and improper discharge of a Taser. We also heard complaints about “carding” – police keeping information about people who were stopped but not arrested. These were referred to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) or the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), where appropriate.

Seven provinces allow for Ombudsman oversight of police services. For instance, in 2011, the Manitoba Ombudsman reported on police detaining intoxicated youths in jails.

This year, we received 43 complaints and inquiries about the OIPRD, raising concerns about flawed communications, investigations and decisions. Under the Police Services Act, this body does not fall within our jurisdiction, even though the SIU does.

 

Operations Overview

The Ombudsman’s Office received 19,726 complaints and inquiries in 2012-2013 – a 6% increase from the previous year. Most (54%) complaints were resolved within one week; 66% were resolved within two weeks. The Case Summaries section of this report features examples of the many cases that were successfully resolved, often by our staff helping people who felt they were stuck in endless bureaucratic lines.

The Operations section of the Office, which consists of Early Resolution Officers and Investigators, focuses on resolving individual cases. Cases that cannot be informally resolved are referred for formal investigation, while others are brought to the attention of senior government officials and successfully addressed.

Both teams work closely with the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT) to identify and resolve potential systemic problems wherever possible. Senior Ombudsman staff also meet regularly with top officials from the most complained about ministries, organizations and programs to alert them to complaint trends and significant cases.

Complaint Trends and Significant Cases in 2012-2013

Ministry of the Attorney General

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

 

Among its other responsibilities, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) is responsible for managing the financial affairs of people who are incapable of doing so themselves. The Ombudsman received 162 complaints about the OPGT in 2012-2013, compared to 130 in 2011-2012. As in previous years, these complaints related primarily to problems with the OPGT’s communication with clients, delays and the quality of service. Some complaints also involved OPGT decisions, such as refusals to provide clients with funds.

For example, OPGT staff inadvertently charged a man legal fees for its discussions with our Office about his complaint to us. They also attached an outdated fee schedule to the legal bill. When Ombudsman staff brought this to the attention of the OPGT, it ensured that the client was not charged for the discussions with our Office and it sent the client a current schedule for other fees.

Senior OPGT officials meet regularly with Ombudsman staff to discuss complaint trends, potential systemic issues and individual cases. The OPGT has continued to focus its efforts on improving customer service, an area the Ombudsman remains concerned about.

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Correctional facilities – Complaints from inmates

 

Due to the consistently high number of complaints received from correctional institutions across the province, the Ombudsman’s strategy is to focus resources on those involving serious health and safety issues. In addition to flagging complaints about excessive use of force by correctional officers (the subject of the Ombudsman’s latest systemic report – see the Special Ombudsman Response Team section of this report), staff continue to monitor complaints about the handling of inmate-on-inmate assaults.

For example, we learned of two serious assaults at one institution, neither of which had been investigated by the facility’s senior management. We brought these cases to the attention of senior officials at the Ministry, who ensured both assaults were investigated. The Assistant Deputy Minister also issued direction to the region’s superintendents that a local investigation should be conducted into any assault that results in serious injury.

We also continue to receive a high volume of complaints from inmates about health-related issues, such as lack of access to medication, medical staff or treatment. Many complaints involve health care staff not communicating with community physicians, institutional doctors refusing to prescribe medications, missed or delayed medication due to lockdowns, and medication being cut off without an alternative. We also received a large number of complaints from inmates with serious mental illnesses who faced long waits to see a psychiatrist, and about a lack of services for female inmates with mental health issues.

In one case, a woman who was seven months pregnant had been in jail for more than three weeks without seeing a doctor. After Ombudsman staff spoke to the health care manager at the institution, arrangements were made for the woman to see a doctor and be transferred to the high-risk clinic in case she gave birth while in custody. In another case, an inmate who has epilepsy complained that his identification card did not note his condition and he was being made to sleep on an upper bunk; Ombudsman staff spoke with the relevant health care manager and both his bunk and ID card were changed. In a third case, an inmate complained that a nurse had given him another inmate’s medication by mistake and he received a methadone overdose. Ombudsman staff followed up with the facility’s superintendent, who confirmed the mistake and ensured the inmate’s condition was monitored by a doctor. This latter case was also brought to the attention of senior Ministry officials.

In January 2013, an inmate at a detention centre complained to the Ombudsman after making three requests to see a psychiatrist. Ombudsman staff discovered that the facility had used up its psychiatry budget for the fiscal year and had reduced the psychiatrist’s hours as a result, forcing staff to triage inmates’ requests so that those in crisis were given priority. After Ombudsman staff spoke to the regional director about the situation, a quarterly budget review was implemented to ensure even distribution of psychiatric hours throughout the fiscal year. The regional director also directed all superintendents in the region to consult with her about budgetary concerns, and committed to providing regular updates to the Ombudsman’s Office on this issue.

As we have done for several years now, senior Ombudsman staff meet with top Ministry officials on a quarterly basis to discuss trends in complaints and emerging systemic issues. We also meet directly with those responsible for health care services in correctional facilities to address issues and identify areas for further improvement.

Private Security and Investigative Services Branch

In recent years, Ombudsman staff have monitored complaints about the Ministry’s Private Security and Investigative Services Branch, which is responsible for licensing private investigators and security guards, as well as handling complaints made against them.

Last year, we reported that in response to concerns raised by Ombudsman staff, the branch overhauled its complaint process. It has also cleared the backlog of 200 complaints that accumulated while the new process was being developed.

This year, Ombudsman staff identified concerns to the Ministry about delays caused by the branch’s practice of returning incomplete licence applications and renewals to applicants by mail without attempting to contact them to resolve problems. The Ministry made improvements and as of April 2013, applications could be made and their status checked by applicants online. The Ombudsman will continue to monitor complaints received about the branch.

Death Investigation Oversight Council

The Death Investigation Oversight Council (DIOC) was established in December 2010 to oversee the work of Ontario’s coroners and forensic pathologists. It advises the Chief Coroner and Chief Forensic Pathologist on key issues, and can receive complaints about these organizations’ work through its complaints committee.

After receiving complaints about the DIOC’s customer service and confusion about its role, senior Ombudsman staff met with the chair to discuss ways to improve the transparency and accessibility of the DIOC’s complaint process. It was suggested that the DIOC should provide clear, evidence-based reasons in its decision letters, improve communication with complainants, and ensure its role and mandate are clearly set out in its public materials and website. The chair, who has worked proactively with our Office to address issues, agreed and changes were made to the website and DIOC correspondence. As well, the DIOC can now be contacted directly by phone.

Senior Ombudsman staff also provided an information session on the Ombudsman’s mandate and operations to DIOC staff and shared some of our best practices for complaint handling.

Ontario Forensic Pathology Service – Historically retained organs

The Ontario Forensic Pathology Service (OFPS) office works closely with the Office of the Chief Coroner with regard to death investigations in the public interest. The Ombudsman received 5 complaints after the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services issued a press release in June 2012 revealing that it had stored organs from autopsies conducted by the coroner’s office prior to 2010. The Ministry called on affected families to advise how they wanted their loved ones’ remains to be dealt with. Many were upset that this practice had never been public knowledge.

Our Office connected the families who complained with officials at the office of the Chief Coroner and at the OFPS who could provide information and answers. We have not received any further complaints since August 2012.

The Chief Forensic Pathologist also met with the Ombudsman to explain why organs had been retained after autopsies in the past, and to outline how affected families were being informed. He noted that regulatory changes were made to ensure families would be informed about organ retention in future. As of mid-April 2013, the Chief Forensic Pathologist’s office advised us that it had been contacted by 2,500 families out of a potential 4,000 who could come forward. While the Ombudsman will continue to monitor this issue, he advised the Minister that we have received positive feedback from affected families, and good co-operation from the Chief Forensic Pathologist.

Ministry of Community and Social Services

Family Responsibility Office

The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is responsible for the enforcement of court-ordered child and spousal support in Ontario. Our Office received 794 complaints about the FRO in 2012-2013, making it once again the most complained about Ontario government organization. Complaints commonly involve inadequate or delayed enforcement of support orders or insufficient communication with clients.

Similar complaint trends were observed this year, such as FRO staff failing to review documentation, consider all available facts or ensure records are up to date before taking enforcement action for unpaid support. Another frequent complaint involved enforcement actions not in compliance with FRO policies and procedures.

We received many complaints about wide variations in when and how FRO staff chose to take enforcement action. In one case, FRO staff repeatedly negotiated new payment schedules with a man who had breached previous ones and owed more than $20,000 in arrears. FRO policy requires aggressive enforcement (driver’s licence suspension, garnishing wages, etc.) when such schedules are violated. It wasn’t until Ombudsman staff contacted FRO management about the case that the man was told aggressive enforcement would begin – whereupon he began making support payments.

Poor record keeping and administrative errors are persistent problems for the FRO, sometimes resulting in serious financial impact on clients. For instance, it erroneously paid nearly $34,000 of a woman’s child support payments to a generic Ministry account from 1996 to 2007. The woman, who had been on social assistance in 1997 for 10 months, had assigned her child support payments from the FRO to the Ministry. However, the payments were never redirected to her when she came off social assistance, and she missed out on them for 11 years. After Ombudsman staff intervened, the FRO reimbursed her for the full amount.

Senior FRO managers meet regularly with our Office and have been very responsive to the complaint trends and cases brought to their attention. The FRO implemented a new case management computer system in April 2013 that will automate several of its manual processes and is expected to improve service. The Ombudsman remains optimistic about the proactive measures and strategies implemented by the FRO to address problems, but continues to be concerned about the themes arising from complaints.

Services for adults with developmental disabilities

In 2011-2012, the Ombudsman reported on serious, persistent complaints about the apparent lack of services to support young people with severe developmental disabilities once they turn 18 and are no longer cared for through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Ombudsman staff worked closely with the Ministry of Community and Social Services to resolve these cases one at a time, but complaints continued to mount. On November 29, 2012, the Ombudsman announced a systemic investigation into provincial services for adults with developmental disabilities who were in crisis situations. At that time, our Office had received 64 such complaints, but several hundred more came in after the investigation was announced. More details on this ongoing investigation can be found in the Special Ombudsman Response Team section of this report.

While the systemic investigation was under way, a team of Ombudsman staff was assigned to deal with individual cases and help families find immediate solutions. This involved following up where warranted with community agencies, Developmental Services Ontario (DSO) offices and Ministry staff.

In one such case, a young man with a developmental disability assaulted his widowed grandmother at a hospital and was involuntarily committed to the psychiatric unit. When his condition stabilized, the grandmother felt she could not take him home from hospital because she could not manage him. Ombudsman staff facilitated communication between the Ministry (including senior officials), the hospital and the local DSO office. After seven months, a “temporary safe bed” was found for the man at a group home – with the possibility to become a permanent placement – and his grandmother was very grateful for the help she received.

In another case, we were contacted by a family whose developmentally disabled 18-year-old son had been suspended from school for assaulting a teacher and several caregivers. He had also been violent at home and they had called the police for help. Ombudsman staff alerted the Ministry to the urgency of the case and it immediately arranged for home services for the family and sought a residential placement for the man on an urgent basis. Two months later, his family advised our Office that the Ministry had found a suitable residential placement for him in a group home and service providers had developed a plan to stabilize his behaviour and have him return to school.

Ombudsman staff continue to work to resolve the hundreds of individual complaints in this area as the investigation into the broader issues wraps up.

“ I am writing… to acknowledge the excellent service recently received from the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario. Their follow-through with Developmental Services Ontario resulted in an outcome… that will most certainly enhance the quality of my [son’s] life throughout his adult years… We now have much greater peace of mind. ”

Letter to Ombudsman from mother of young man with developmental disabilities, February 2013

 

 

Thistletown Regional Centre

Thistletown Regional Centre is a Ministry-operated mental health centre that offers specialized services and community supports to children, youth and families with complex special needs and developmental challenges. It also provides residential care for 13 adults, some of whom have been living at the centre since early childhood or adolescence and are now middle-aged.

The Ombudsman was contacted by six families with adult relatives living at Thistletown. They were informed by letter in March 2012 that the centre would be closed and the residents relocated by March 31, 2013. They complained to the Ombudsman about this decision and the transition process.

Our review focused on the transition process and the parents’ complaints that their calls were not returned or they were provided with inaccurate or inadequate information. Some said the profile setting out their loved ones’ needs did not reflect the complex medical, behavioral or historical information in the recommendations made by the clinicians who had worked closely with them. They also wanted to know if there were any contingency plans if the new placement failed.

Ombudsman staff also found it difficult to obtain concrete information from the Thistletown transition team. After we expressed concerns to several senior Ministry officials, the Minsitry committed to improve communication with the families, and confirmed the residents would remain at Thistletown while new placements for them are found. At the time of writing this report, Thistletown remains open and Ombudsman staff continue to monitor this process.

Ministry of Children and Youth Services

Services for children with special needs

In 2011-2012, the Ombudsman reported 47 complaints about services and treatment for children with special needs. This increased to 91 complaints in 2012-2013 – representing an increase of 94%. In the wake of the Ombudsman’s investigation into services for adults with developmental disabilities who are in crisis, we heard from 60 families who were concerned about the services available to children as well. Many also worried about what services would be available when these children turned 18. Common complaints included a lack of service co-ordination (meaning families must deal with multiple applications and paperwork for different programs such as Special Services at Home and Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities), and long waiting lists for services and programs such as respite for caregivers.

Ombudsman staff worked with community agencies and the relevant ministries to help families connect with the appropriate service providers and to resolve these cases as effectively as possible.

Two of these cases echoed the issues raised in the Ombudsman’s 2005 investigation and report, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, which revealed parents were being forced to surrender custody of their children to children’s aid societies in order to place them in facilities that could care for them. Ombudsman staff resolved both of these cases. More details can be found in the Special Ombudsman Response Team section of this report.

Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities benefit program

In 2010-2011, the Ombudsman reported on complaints from families who were denied the Assistance for Children with Severe Disabilities (ACSD) benefit purely on the basis of income. Our inquiries prompted the Ministry to review how its officials were applying the eligibility requirements for the benefit, particularly the “extreme hardship” clause. This clause allowed them discretion to approve ACSD benefits for families whose income exceeded the Ministry’s ceiling if they had incurred extreme costs relating to a child’s disability. The Ministry found that the criteria were not being applied consistently and took steps to clarify the rules for its staff. As a result, more families received the benefit under the “extreme hardship” criteria.

The Ministry remained in contact with our Office on this matter and in 2012-2013, we received 5 complaints about such issues as delays in processing applications and failure to give notification of the suspension of ACSD benefits.

In one case, the mother of a severely disabled boy who had been receiving ACSD for several years assumed that when he turned 18, he would be eligible for benefits under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). She thought a letter from her son’s doctor to the ACSD special agreements officer was all that was required, but when she later called the ODSP office for an update, she was told there was no record of an application on her son’s behalf. With the help of her MPP, she submitted an application, but her son died just days before it was approved. Ombudsman staff discussed the circumstances surrounding the delayed application with senior staff at the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The local ODSP office reviewed the case and subsequently agreed to provide the mother with $2,273 in retroactive benefits. The Ministry also put protocols in place requiring that information about ODSP be provided to the family of any child receiving ACSD six months prior to the child’s 18th birthday. Applications from ACSD clients for ODSP are now triaged and flagged immediately and put through an expedited approval process.

Ministry of Energy

Hydro One

Hydro One complaints to our Office increased from 232 in 2011-2012 to 328 in 2012-2013. The bulk of these were about disconnection notices and issues with so-called “smart meters” – the newer devices that have been rolled out across the province in recent years. In many cases, customers complained of receiving “estimated usage” bills that did not accurately reflect their power use, followed by large “catch-up” bills. Some also complained that “smart meters” were installed or replaced without their knowledge. Ombudsman staff brought individual cases to the attention of Hydro One officials, who agreed to provide explanations to customers and to make payment arrangements with them as warranted. We are closely monitoring Hydro One’s progress in addressing
these issues.

The Ombudsman also continues to receive complaints about excessive or incorrect billing by Hydro One. Ombudsman staff work with Hydro One staff to resolve these issues, and to facilitate discussions with customers to explain charges and accounting. Examples of individual case resolutions can be found in the Case Summaries section of this report.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Community Care Access Centre co-ordination

The Ombudsman was contacted by a lawyer on behalf of a 37-year-old woman with an acquired brain injury who was unable to care for herself. The woman was in a rehabilitation hospital awaiting a residential placement in a long-term care facility, when she was arrested in connection with an altercation at the hospital and jailed. It was unclear which government or community agency was responsible for the woman’s care and placement; Ombudsman staff made more than a dozen calls to various government organizations in order to obtain information about her history.

Ombudsman staff contacted two regional Community Care Access Centres (responsible for co-ordinating various home and community care services) as well as several programs under the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, in an effort to co-ordinate information between the agencies that had lost touch with the woman when she was incarcerated. After seven months in jail, she was released to a family member, who registered her with another regional CCAC to find an appropriate residential placement for her. She has since been back in both jail and hospital, however, Ombudsman staff and officials at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care are keeping a close eye on her case.

Out-of-country genetic testing

Two families contacted the Ombudsman when they were unable to obtain out-of-country funding for genetic testing on tissue from deceased relatives – even though the testing had been recommended by specialists. In the first case, a physician for a 14-year-old boy who died suddenly while playing sports recommended genetic testing to see if his surviving siblings had the same undiagnosed connective tissue disorder believed to have caused the boy’s death. The Ministry initially denied funding for the test because the boy was deceased and therefore not covered by OHIP. However, the Health Services Appeal and Review Board agreed to order the test on behalf of the mother, who was covered by OHIP.

In the second case, a widowed mother sought out-of-country funding to pay for genetic testing of tissue from her deceased husband, who also died of a connective tissue disorder. The woman wanted the test to determine whether the couple’s five-year-old daughter had the same condition, but her doctor did not request it because the Ministry had advised geneticists that it would not approve such requests.

Ministry officials initially told Ombudsman staff they would review their policy on such testing in light of the first appeal – but that similar requests in the meantime would be denied and would have to be appealed. When they provided no timeline for the review, we met with more senior representatives, after which the Ministry confirmed it would consult with the Chief Forensic Pathologist on the issue – and that new applications in the interim would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The Ombudsman will continue to monitor the Ministry’s progress in this area.

Ministry of Government Services / Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Long-Term Care ACTION Line

The Long-Term Care ACTION Line was established for residents of long-term care homes to report concerns about care and services provided by their residence or Community Care Access Centre. It is operated by ServiceOntario. Staff at the phone line are to record information, ask questions, assess the problem and give the information to the Ministry or the relevant Community Care Access Centre for follow-up.

A long-term care home worker complained to the Ombudsman that she did not hear back after she reported a serious incident on the ACTION line. When Ombudsman staff asked Ministry officials about the call, it was discovered to be one of many that had been dropped from the computer system because the data had been entered improperly. The Ombudsman’s inquiry revealed that this problem meant 260 calls were not acted upon as required.

The Ministry agreed to look into the matter to determine whether any data from the calls could be retrieved and to follow up as warranted. It will also update the Ombudsman on how it ensures calls to the ACTION line are properly handled and acted upon.

Ministry of Natural Resources

Natural Heritage, Lands, and Protected Spaces Branch

Ontario’s Aggregate Resources Act controls and regulates aggregate operations (aggregates are defined as gravel, sand, clay, earth, several types of stone, or any combination of sand, gravel or stone). Aggregates are used primarily in construction projects. Under the Act, aggregate business operators in designated geographic areas are subject to a system of licensing, monitoring, inspection and enforcement, and annual licensing fees and costs.

A licenced aggregate operator from an area that was designated in 2007 complained to the Ombudsman that it was unfair not to subject all aggregate producers in the province to the same rules. He complained that operators in designated areas are at a competitive disadvantage when bidding for contracts against unlicenced operators from neighbouring non-designated areas because the unlicenced operators are not subject to the same licensing costs and requirements.

The Ministry advised the Ombudsman that it was developing options to address this inequity. In March 2012, the Standing Committee on General Government was directed by the Legislature to review and develop recommendations to strengthen the Aggregate Resources Act, and the Ministry’s aggregate policy initiatives were put on hold pending the outcome of this review.

After the prorogation of the Legislative Assembly in October 2012, Ombudsman staff met with senior Ministry officials on this matter. In January 2013, the Ministry said it would continue to seek direction from the government to address this inequity.

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Private Career Colleges Branch

The Ministry’s Private Career Colleges Branch is responsible for ensuring all private career colleges are in compliance with legislation and taking enforcement action against those that are unregistered or otherwise break the rules.

In 2012-2013, the Ombudsman received 19 complaints about this branch, down from 26 in the previous year. Complaints involved inadequate communication, unfair enforcement or delays in approving programs, renewing school registrations or responding to college compliance efforts.

One college director complained she waited several months for the Ministry to approve distance education courses. When Ombudsman staff brought this concern to senior managers, we learned the branch had concerns about the quality of its own process for approving such programs. It had stopped reviewing applications in October 2010. We monitored the branch’s progress in developing a new policy framework, and in November 2012, the Ministry issued a new policy directive and resumed evaluating applications for such programs.

Ombudsman staff also spoke to the Deputy Minister about difficulty in obtaining information and timely responses from the Ministry on several cases. The Deputy Minister agreed to review one case personally and supported our Office’s offer to meet with senior Ministry staff on a quarterly basis to discuss progress on complaints and issues. One such meeting had been held at the time of writing this report, to discuss complaint trends and what is expected when Ombudsman staff call the Ministry for information. Ministry staff committed to making improvements, and we continue to monitor complaints about this branch.

Ministry of Transportation

Licensing Service Branch – “Ghost” licences

In 2011-2012, the Ombudsman reported that a complaint from a man convicted of drunk driving led our staff to discover a disturbing issue with thousands of “master licence” records at the Ministry of Transportation. Master licence records are used by the Ministry to store information provided by the police and courts about an offence or information from a doctor about a driver’s medical condition where no existing driver’s licence for the person can be found – for example, when someone without an Ontario licence is stopped by the police or in an accident.

Once a “master” record is created, it is supposed to be matched with the driver’s official licence, if one exists. However, if the information received by the Ministry does not exactly match that on the existing driver’s licence, this can result in more than one licence record for the same person. In the case of the drunk driver, for example, because his surname was misspelled by one letter, his licence was not found in the system and a “master” one was created. His conviction and prohibition from driving were added to the “master” record, but his existing licence remained clear – and so he kept using it to drive.

In releasing his report last year, the Ombudsman said he was very concerned about the number of “ghost licences” and their potential impact on public safety. He reported that the Ministry was improving its search tools to catch potential duplicate licences resulting from misspelled names or addresses, but it had no plan to review all existing master licence records.

Ombudsman staff worked closely with the Ministry on this issue. It was determined more than 1.1 million master licence records had been created since 1966. Some 235,000 related to Ontario residents; the rest were created in order to enter information about out-of-province drivers into the Ontario system.

The Ministry has since taken specific steps to identify potential “ghost licences.” Its initial review identified 13,866 potential duplicate records for Ontario residents – 1,050 of which had been flagged for suspension. These are being reviewed in stages, starting with those that involve Criminal Code suspensions – because if these people are still driving, they pose the highest risk to public safety. At the time of writing this report, the Ministry had identified 138 high-risk potential duplicate master licence records. Of those, 100 were confirmed to be duplicates of driver’s licences already in the Ministry’s database. The Ministry confirmed that 35 of the 100 duplicate licences should have been suspended but were not, and these drivers could still be on the road. The Ministry is notifying them of their licence suspensions. Next, it will review the 647 duplicate master licence records it identified for people whose licences were suspended for medical reasons.

The Ministry of Finance’s Internal Audit Division is also conducting an independent audit of the licensing control system to assess the process and conditions that led to the creation of master licences, the risk factors associated with them, and potential short- and long-term goals for the Ministry to monitor and reconcile duplicate records.

The Ministry has demonstrated that it takes the Ombudsman’s concerns seriously. Senior Ministry officials have welcomed regular meetings with Ombudsman staff to discuss their progress as monitoring of this issue continues.

 

Training and Consultation

The Ombudsman’s Office shares its expertise in complaint resolution and systemic investigations with other agencies from around the world. Since 2007, the Ombudsman’s course “Sharpening Your Teeth: Advanced Investigative Training for Administrative Watchdogs” has been delivered to hundreds of ombudsmen, investigators and others in the oversight field, always on a cost-recovery basis.  The Ombudsman and senior staff are also frequently asked to consult with and address various agencies and their representatives.

Training

In November 2012, the Ombudsman and Sue Haslam, Director of Investigations, were invited to deliver “Sharpening Your Teeth” training to more than 80 participants from around the world at the International Ombudsman Institute’s 10th annual world conference in Wellington, New Zealand. Customized versions of the course were also conducted for the Office of the Citizen’s Aide/Ombudsman of Iowa, for staff of the Ontario Fire Marshal and Ontario Energy Board, and for representatives of several countries at the Second Curaçao International Ombudsman Conference.

“ Thank you for the contribution you made with the outstanding success of ‘Sharpening Your Teeth’ [at the IOI World Conference in New Zealand]. Feedback on the SYT workshop demonstrated that you made a great impact and that what you had to say was, in a very real sense, life-changing for many. You certainly helped me to cement in the changes we are making to our own approach to investigations. ”

Dame Beverley Wakem, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Chief Ombudsman of New Zealand, letter to Ombudsman Marin, December 2012

 

 

The Ombudsman’s annual “Sharpening Your Teeth” course in Toronto, held January 21-23, 2013, was the largest yet, with 80 participants from five continents. They included representatives from Brazil, Thailand, Kenya, the U.S., and the U.K., and agencies such as the Yukon Ombudsman’s Office, the Alberta Ombudsman, Office of the New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate, Office of the Métis Settlement Ombudsman, Health Canada, the Toronto Transit Commission, the Montreal Ombudsman’s Office, the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, and the City of Toronto Ombudsman. Senior Ontario government officials in attendance represented the ministries of Environment, Aboriginal Affairs, Children and Youth Services, and the Ontario Provincial Police.

The 2013 edition of the course included a new session on using social media and technology in investigations and communications, as well as such core topics as investigation planning, interviewing witnesses, assessing evidence and writing and publicizing reports. For the first time, participants could also use an “SYT app” on their mobile phones to get the course schedule and location.

Special guest Peter Wallace, Secretary of the Ontario Cabinet and head of the Ontario public service, gave the keynote speech, emphasizing the importance of government watchdogs.

“ Your roles were set up for an absolutely vital reason, which is to ensure the public gets its value for money, to ensure the bureaucracy does not run amok, to ensure that there’s a human face and human values put on those decisions. Our world is immensely better off because of the role of the Ombudsman [and other oversight offices]. ”

Peter Wallace, Secretary of Cabinet and head of the Ontario Public Service, address to SYT participants, January 22, 2013

 

 

The next edition of “Sharpening Your Teeth” in Toronto will be held in January 2014.

Comments from SYT participants, January 2013

“ An excellent investment with great returns. ”

Dr. Gavin McBurnie, Director of Operations (Business Development), Office of the U.K. Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman

“ A wealth of information from a cutting-edge organization. It is a standard to aspire to. ”

Stephen Hare, Health Canada

“ This was an exceptional course; highly informative presentations, extremely engaging and obviously knowledgeable presenters. ”

Martin Hastings, Independent Electricity System Operator, Ontario

“ The presenters were all engaging, dynamic and knowledgeable. Thank you very much for such a professional and high-level program. ”

Julie Smith, Trent University

“ I have learned a lot of quality methods to implement in my work at home. I am excited to take some of these ideas, in particular best practices, social media presence, and writing styles. ”

Laura Pippenger, Assistant Ombudsman, Dayton-Montgomery County, Ohio

“ The content is very useful in enhancing investigative skills for Ombudsman investigations. This is a very good program. Your team is very knowledgeable and impactful. ”

Micah Nzomo Nguli, Office of the Ombudsman of Kenya

 

 

 

Consultation with other agencies

The Ombudsman and staff are frequently asked to consult with other oversight agencies in Canada and around the world about everything from investigative methods to case management technology to the use of social media. Our senior staff also consult with and deliver presentations to officials from Ontario government ministries and organizations within our mandate – and occasionally in the MUSH sector as well.

In 2012-2013, for example, the Ombudsman and senior staff were invited to consult with, among others, the federal Victims of Crime Ombudsman, the national human rights commissioner of France, and visiting delegations from China’s General Office of the State Council and Nigeria’s commission on justice and corruption. They also delivered presentations to staff for the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, the Council of Elizabeth Fry Societies of Ontario, the Death Investigation Oversight Council, the Ontario Patient Relations Association and the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. In addition, senior staff gave presentations via Skype and Google Hangouts, including to a conference of ombudsmen in Melbourne, Australia and a gathering of finance ministry employees from across Canada in Regina.

 

Communications and Outreach

The Ombudsman makes communicating with the public a priority, and between new and traditional media, engagement with the public grew substantially in 2012-2013. From informal question-and-answer sessions on Twitter to in-person speeches and outreach events – several of which could also be viewed live on our website – the Ombudsman and staff employed new communications tools to promote the Office’s work and to connect directly with the public, media and stakeholders.

“ Your accessibility via social media is a big strength. You are accountable, open & transparent to the people – your role, no? ”

@MariaVamvalis, via Twitter

 

 

Communications

The Ombudsman’s high profile in the traditional news media is complemented by his social media presence, both of which help make the Office effective and have made it a leader in the ombudsman world. Similarly, the Office’s published reports are complemented by constantly updated information on our website, mobile app, e-newsletter and social media activity.

Traditional media

There were 853 print articles published about the Ombudsman’s Office in 2012-2013, primarily in daily newspapers across Ontario and the rest of Canada. The estimated advertising value of these articles was $2.1 million, reaching an aggregate audience of 52.7 million, according to calculations by Infomart, based on newspaper advertising rates, circulation and page display. This represents an increase of 16% in audience reach and 23% in ad value over 2011-2012.

There were also 887 items about the Ombudsman and his work broadcast on radio and television, both in Ontario and across the country – a 125% increase over the previous year.

Social media

Social media tools have become integral to the Ombudsman’s work, as the Office’s following on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and LinkedIn continues to grow. In 2012-2013, the Ombudsman was recognized for leadership in this area, both by other ombudsmen and by social media experts.

“ A thought-leader in the trend toward open government, the Ombudsman has used Twitter successfully for: Accessibility; Transparency; Accountability. ”

Thornley Fallis blog (thornleyfallis.ca), April 2013

 

 

In December 2012, the Ombudsman’s Twitter account (@Ont_Ombudsman – all tweets are written by Ombudsman Marin personally unless otherwise noted) reached the milestone of 10,000 followers, and continued to climb, more than doubling last year’s total. Events such as speeches and press conferences were live-tweeted with the hashtag #OOLive (OO for Ombudsman Ontario), making them easier to follow and search – and tweets were compiled as Storify stories. The Ombudsman also introduced casual question-and-answer sessions where he interacted with followers on some Sunday afternoons via the hashtag #AskUrOmbuds.

The Ombudsman’s followers say his accessibility on Twitter has made them better informed about his role, and better able to interact with the Office. When he asked them “Should the Ombudsman be on Twitter?” he received more than 100 responses, almost all in the affirmative. The Ombudsman also uses Twitter to report procedural updates in investigations, link to announcements, press releases and relevant news stories, and post photos of his everyday work and life.

“ An O ‘is charged with representing the interests of the public’…this is the perfect forum to learn and communicate with us! ”

@Jacydee, via Twitter

“ Accessibility, immediacy, accuracy, leadership, integrity, honesty, feedback, tips, information, clarity, input, tweet away! ”

@RossMcleanSec, via Twitter

“ Those who wonder why Ombudsman tweets, wonder why astronauts tweet. 2 best for-the-people accounts going. ”

@helennarell, via Twitter

 

 

The Ombudsman’s Facebook page increased its following by 25% in 2012-2013 and posts on the page reached more than 118,000 people. The page keeps followers informed with updates from the Ombudsman’s investigations, photos and speeches from events or office visits, links to news stories, press releases and job postings. The most popular single post, which linked to a poll by the Toronto Sun about giving the Ombudsman oversight of the Children’s Aid Societies, reached 5,100 people and was shared 92 times.

On YouTube, the Ombudsman’s channel garnered thousands of new viewers, who watched videos of press conferences and speeches. There were about 19,200 views as of March 31, 2013. A video of a February 2013 radio interview about the Office’s investigation into services for adults with developmental disabilities in crisis received about 1,200 views.

The Office began advertising employment opportunities on LinkedIn in 2012-2013, receiving more than 4,000 views in just a few weeks.

Website and mobile app

The Ombudsman’s website (www.ombudsman.on.ca) saw record visitor numbers in 2012-2013. The site, redesigned in June 2011, continues to evolve and now provides more information, embedded video, news articles, social media sharing tools, speeches, and resources.

According to Google Analytics, the website had 100,096 unique visitors in 2012-2013 – a 24% increase over the previous year. The site received 159,795 total visits, and more than 552,800 pageviews. Most visitors are from Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, but others came to the site from 174 countries.

The mobile-optimized version of the Ombudsman’s site, which users can download directly to the homescreen of a smartphone or tablet, was launched in November 2011. There were 14,210 unique visitors and 19,632 total visits to the mobile site in 2012-2013.

“ Well done. Not just for well executed projects but w increasing the # of Ontarians who understand the role of OO and use OO. ”

@csgreentree, via Twitter

 

 

In another first, the Office began live webcasting speeches and events, in addition to press conferences, in 2012-2013. These are available in real time on the front page of our website and then archived on our YouTube channel. Combined with our practice of live-tweeting events, this technology allows anyone interested in the Ombudsman’s work to have a front-row seat.

The Office also increased its use of the video-calling service Skype in 2012-2013, for speaking engagements, meetings and connecting with complainants and witnesses in investigations.

Outreach

The Ombudsman was invited by numerous groups to be a guest speaker in 2012-2013, as were several members of his team. He addressed several university and college audiences, including at the University of Ottawa and University of Toronto law faculties, Carleton University and Humber College. Ombudsman staff also participated in outreach events at the University of Windsor and University of Ottawa law faculties.

Among many other engagements, he was asked to speak about civilian oversight of police on several occasions, including the 50th annual conference for the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, a conference organized by the Civil Liberties Association of the National Capital Region and at the annual conference of the U.S.-based National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement.

The Ombudsman was also invited to speak about social media as essential tools for ombudsmen at the 10th World Conference of the International Ombudsman Institute in Wellington, New Zealand.

Ombudsman senior staff spoke to a wide variety of groups in 2012-2013, including the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy, the Consumer Specialty Products Association, the Northern Ontario Service Deliverers Association, the Canadian Health Care Anti-fraud Association, the Ontario Federation of Community Mental Health and Addiction Programs, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, and the Tema Conter Memorial Trust.

In addition, because MPPs play an important role in the Ombudsman’s work – in referring complainants and issues to our Office – the Ombudsman invited all members of the Legislature to an outreach event in May 2012 at Queen’s Park. The event offered MPPs a chance to speak informally with the Ombudsman and staff members about how the Office handles complaints and investigations. The Office also offered to conduct presentations for constituency staff for all parties on how complaints can be referred to us for resolution or investigation.

And the award goes to…

Ombudsman André Marin was honoured with the following awards in 2012-2013, recognizing his contribution to law and public service in Ontario:

JOHN TAIT AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, Canadian Bar Association, August 2012

This national award is presented annually to a public sector lawyer who exemplifies pre-eminent public service, and honoured the Ombudsman’s commitment to social justice in Ontario.

COMMON LAW HONOUR SOCIETY, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, September 2012

The faculty’s most prestigious award for graduates in common law, this award (pictured, below left) honoured the Ombudsman’s significant contribution to the law profession and to the community.

ACHIEVEMENT IN OVERSIGHT AWARD, National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (U.S.), October 2012

In a rare recognition of achievement outside the U.S., this new award (pictured, below right) honoured the Ombudsman’s significant work in exposing the challenges facing Ontario’s civilian police oversight agency, the Special Investigations Unit.

 

Special Ombudsman Response Team

Established in 2005, the Special Ombudsman Response Team, or SORT, conducts investigations into high-profile, complex issues, looking for the root causes of issues and solutions to systemic problems.

SORT’s approach to investigations incorporates cutting-edge techniques including those used by police in major case management. Normally several investigations are ongoing at once. Each case is meticulously planned to ensure resources are used as efficiently as possible to gather large quantities of evidence. Most interviews are digitally recorded and documentary evidence is carefully reviewed.

In each case, a lead investigator is responsible for the day-to-day tactical direction of the investigation in the field, assisted as required by other investigators and Ombudsman staff such as legal counsel, Early Resolution Officers and communications staff.

SORT staff also monitor the government’s implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations in the months and years after an investigation is completed. If warranted, investigations can be reopened.

The methods used by SORT form the basis of the Ombudsman’s world-renowned training course, “Sharpening Your Teeth: Advanced Investigative Training for Administrative Watchdogs,” now in its seventh year. Staff from hundreds of ombudsman offices and investigative agencies around the world have participated in this training – for more information, see the Training and Consultation section of this report.

SORT investigations completed in 2012-2013

The Code – Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

In June 2013, the Ombudsman released his report on allegations of excessive use of force against inmates by correctional officers in the province’s correctional facilities. The investigation exposed the “code of silence” among some correctional staff that led to serious cases of assault being covered up or improperly investigated. The Ministry acknowledged this grave problem and committed to implementing the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

The investigation stemmed from complaint trends that Ombudsman staff had tracked for years – more than 350 complaints about unreasonable force from 2009 to present. In November 2010, the Ombudsman brought several cases to the Ministry’s attention where policies were not followed and there was evidence of violence being covered up by correctional staff.

The Ministry initially dismissed the Ombudsman’s concerns, although after reviewing the cases and confirming the Ombudsman’s assessments, it began its own review to address the issues. But its progress was slow, and in August 2011, the Ombudsman notified the Ministry that he was launching a systemic investigation into its response to allegations of excessive use of force against inmates, including the adequacy and enforcement of policies and investigation of such incidents.

The announcement sparked 147 complaints from inmates, former inmates, and their families and legal representatives, as well as from whistleblowers within the Ministry itself. The investigation team reviewed thousands of documents and conducted 182 interviews across the province, including with inmates and former inmates, correctional officers and managers, nurses and institution administrators. They also interviewed numerous officials at various levels of the Ministry, union officials and other stakeholders.

During the course of the investigation, the Ministry developed and implemented a number of initiatives and policies aimed at addressing many of the issues the Ombudsman raised. It also fired more than 30 staff, disciplined more than 100 and saw five charged with criminal assault.

The Ombudsman made 45 recommendations in the report. The Ministry committed to reporting back to the Ombudsman every six months on its progress in implementing them.

“ [I]t is clear that we must do more to crack the “code of silence” that hampers investigations and intimidates inmates and staff members who come forward. ”

Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, letter responding to Ombudsman’s draft report, May 22, 2013

“ The Ministry has taken some solid initial steps in the right direction, but it will need to follow through…. It must take all reasonable precautions to protect inmates from abuse by those responsible for their protection. This includes ensuring vigorous action is taken to eradicate the code of silence that threatens the security of inmates and staff alike. ”

Ombudsman André Marin, The Code, June 2013

 

 

 

In the Line of Duty – Ontario Provincial Police and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

In October 2012, the Ombudsman released his report on how the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services were addressing operational stress injuries affecting police officers. Operational stress injuries include conditions such as depression, addictions, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

The investigation, launched in March 2011, looked into complaints from 111 active and retired OPP and municipal officers and their families. It revealed that a strong stigma and “suck it up” culture persisted against officers with operational stress injuries, along with a serious lack of related support services and training for OPP members.

This extensive investigation comprised 191 interviews with OPP and municipal officers, OPP and Ministry staff, health service providers, psychologists, psychiatrists, traumatic stress specialists and interest groups. Other law enforcement agencies were also contacted, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal police and the California Highway Patrol. SORT also looked into how all other Canadian provinces handled operational stress injuries among police.

“ [F]or the OPP officers who have long struggled with the effects of PTSD, Ombudsman André Marin’s report In the Line of Duty… is a long-overdue validation of what they have endured and continue to endure. It is also a blueprint for changing the culture of stigma and shame within the organization. ”

Toronto Star editorial, October 27, 2012

“ Given the massive personal toll on police officers and their families caused by operational stress, to say nothing of the huge costs borne by taxpayers when officers are disabled by PTSD, surely taking long-overdue action on Marin’s report is a no-brainer. ”

Toronto Sun editorial, October 27, 2012

“ This report challenges us to do better, and we want to make sure we take better care of our folks. ”

OPP Acting Superintendent Dave Quigley, Simcoe.com, October 31, 2012

 

 

The Ombudsman found that while the OPP had recently made some progress in addressing operational stress injuries, serious gaps remained. The OPP employed only one psychologist for a force of more than 8,000 uniform and civilian workers. While members of some specialty units had access to help and support, most officers had only a basic employee assistance program that did not sufficiently address the traumatic realities of police work and did nothing to help officers find professional help in their communities.

The report also revealed that the OPP had no official statistics on officer suicides – even though more active and retired officers had killed themselves since 1989 (23) than had been killed in the line of duty (21). During the course of the Ombudsman’s investigation, five OPP officers took their own lives. Yet the OPP had no suicide prevention program and did not conduct psychological autopsies in suicide cases to help prevent more.
The Ombudsman’s report made 28 recommendations to the OPP and six to the Ministry. Among other things, he recommended the OPP implement a comprehensive education and training program relating to operational stress injuries; improve its employee assistance programs, psychological services and peer support services; collect data on member operational stress injuries and implement a suicide prevention program. As well, he recommended the Ministry conduct a provincewide survey to identify how many officers are dealing with operational stress injuries, establish statistics on police suicides in Ontario and develop provincial standards for police services to address operational stress injuries.

The OPP’s initial response to the report was described by the Ombudsman as “disappointing” and a “bureaucratic brushoff.” However, senior OPP officials committed to implementing the recommendations and sent their first quarterly report back to our Office in January 2013. The Ombudsman said on Twitter that this first update was “substantive and gives real hope that [the OPP] is moving in the right direction.” Its second quarterly report, received in April 2013, also gave a very positive snapshot of the progress that the OPP is making in implementing the recommendations.

Among the initiatives introduced by the OPP to date are a list of community supports available to officers; specialized training to civilian clinicians about OPP programs; and a review in conjunction with the Ministry and Office of the Chief Coroner to identify police suicides.

The Ministry also committed to work with police stakeholders to develop a survey to assess prevalence of operational stress injuries amongst Ontario police officers; obtain information about programs used by Ontario’s police services to address operational stress injuries and suicide; and conduct research to develop provincial standards relating to these issues.

The Ombudsman will continue to receive quarterly updates from the OPP and the Ministry. (More comments from police and their families can be found in the Your Feedback section of this report.)

“ My wife was an OPP constable who committed suicide in 2010, and I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in this report. The investigators for the Ombudsman’s office were incredibly professional and thorough and kept me in the loop throughout the investigation… There are good people in the OPP that are trying to make changes, but it will be a long time in coming. I pray this report will shine some much-needed light on the subject and speed up the process of change. ”

Jason MacKenzie

“ Never before have people in this organization spoken so openly about their mental health. This open dialogue is an important step toward reducing the stigma that keeps people from seeking help. ”

Report from OSI Working Group, “Addressing Operational Stress Injuries” The OPP Review, Winter 2012-Spring 2013

“ For too long, police and military cultures have had a ‘suck it up’ attitude towards psychological trauma and members rightly feared that talking about their difficult experiences might negatively impact their careers. No more. ”

OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis, The OPP Review, Winter 2012-Spring 2013

 

 

 

Dental implants – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

In his 2009-2010 Annual Report, the Ombudsman highlighted the case of a cancer sufferer who was refused funding for four dental implants after surgery on his jaw and palate. Three years of co-operative work between Ombudsman and Ministry staff have resulted in a new program for patients in similar situations – all without need for a formal investigation.

The 55-year-old man suffered from squamous cell carcinoma and his treatment, beginning in 2006, had involved extensive surgery to remove cancerous tissue and bone from his face and mouth. He also underwent reconstructive surgeries and skin grafts, followed by chemotherapy and 28 radiation treatments.

By January 2007, he was unable to speak or eat properly because so much bone had been removed from the left side of his face. His physical and psychological condition deteriorated and his doctors determined that he needed a prosthesis and the insertion of four titanium screws (dental implants) into what remained of his jawbone.

He applied for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) funding but was turned down on the basis that dental implants are not “insured devices” and are considered “cosmetic.” His subsequent appeal to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board was also turned down because, though acknowledged as medically necessary, the implants were not listed in the Schedule of Benefits for Dental Services.

The man complained to the Ombudsman in September 2009 and SORT conducted a preliminary investigation. OHIP officials took the position that dental implants are not insured, as they are generally used in cosmetic dentistry. However, after further discussion with Ombudsman staff, Ministry officials acknowledged the man’s case was exceptional, and in October 2009 agreed to fund the implants, which he received in summer 2010.

SORT continued to investigate the potential systemic implications of this issue. Some 22 complainants came forward between January 2009 and March 2013 who similarly needed dental implants for non-cosmetic, medically necessary purposes resulting from catastrophic events such as cancer.

Ombudsman staff remained in contact with Ministry officials, including the Deputy Minister, as a program to help these people was developed. The Ministry launched its new Oral and Maxillofacial Reconstruction Program on April 1, 2013. Under this $5-million annual program, the province will provide funding for implant-retained maxillofacial intraoral prostheses to restore oral function for patients who have no other treatment alternatives.

Ongoing SORT investigations

Adults with developmental disabilities in crisis – Ministry of Community and Social Services

In November 2012, the Ombudsman announced an investigation into whether the Ministry of Community and Social Services is adequately responding to urgent situations involving adults with developmental disabilities, and whether it is doing enough to co-ordinate, monitor and facilitate access to services for them.

The Ombudsman’s Office has investigated many individual complaints on this issue over the past two years, a few of which have also been the subject of media reports. The number of complaints has risen steadily – from 35 in 2010, to 45 in 2011, to 64 in 2012 before the investigation was announced. Hundreds of new complaints poured in after the investigation was launched – there were more than 500 as of March 31 and that number climbed to well over 800 by the time this report was finalized for publication.

“ We have heard heart-wrenching stories from aging or ill parents whose adult sons and daughters are a danger to themselves and others and need constant care that can’t be provided at home – but they have nowhere to turn.

“ Some of these caregivers are on the brink of emotional and physical breakdown. We have investigated past cases where people with these severe disabilities have been sent to shelters and even jail. What is particularly troubling is that our complaints have only gone up, despite new legislation and changes made by the Ministry in recent years. ”

Ombudsman André Marin, press release launching investigation, November 28, 2012

To date, SORT investigators have conducted more than 190 interviews across the province, including with adults with developmental disabilities, their families, officials from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Developmental Services Ontario, and other stakeholders. The field work phase of the investigation – interviews and other evidence gathering – is almost complete, although new individual complaints are still being reviewed. The investigation team is assessing the evidence, after which the Ombudsman’s report and recommendations will be drafted and the Ministry given a chance to respond.

The Ombudsman expects to report on this investigation later this year.

“ What kind of province forces loving parents to contemplate abandoning their disabled children to child welfare or a homeless shelter just to get them the help they need? Ontario must not be that place. ”

Toronto Star editorial, September 25, 2012

 

 

Monitoring of drivers with uncontrolled hypoglycemia – Ministry of Transportation

In March 2012, the Ombudsman announced an investigation into how the Ministry of Transportation monitors drivers who have uncontrolled hypoglycemia and could be a danger on the roads.

In announcing the investigation, the Ombudsman emphasized that although most drivers who have diabetes are perfectly safe, the condition of uncontrolled hypoglycemia is deemed serious enough that Ontario and other provinces require medical professionals to report it to the Ministry.

The investigation was sparked by the 2009 case of a Hamilton driver who caused a crash that killed three people when he was in “diabetic shock.” Family members of the accident victims asked the Ombudsman to look into how the Ministry obtains information about drivers with uncontrolled hypoglycemia and takes action when warranted. In the Hamilton incident, the driver’s condition was reported by police and a physician to the Ministry, but it did not suspend his licence until 2011.

It has been mandatory since 1968 for Ontario physicians to report patients who suffer from a medical condition that may make it unsafe for them to drive. Police can also report drivers they suspect are unfit, based on complaints or witnessed behaviour. In cases where uncontrolled hypoglycemia is reported, the Ministry can issue an immediate suspension of the driver’s licence.

This investigation is now complete and the Ombudsman is in the process of drafting his report. SORT investigators conducted more than 60 interviews, including with Ministry staff, interest groups such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, experts in the field and other stakeholders. They also gathered thousands of pages of documentation and reviewed national standards and best practices from other jurisdictions.

The Ombudsman expects to report on this case later this year.

Completed SORT assessments in 2012-2013

Slots at Racetracks program – Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

The Ombudsman received more than 350 complaints in the spring of 2012 in the wake of the government’s decision to end its Slots at Racetracks program, largely from stakeholders in the horse racing industry. Because of the high volume of complaints and the serious concerns raised, a team of investigators was assigned to interview dozens of horse owners, trainers and others whose livelihoods were affected by the change. They also interviewed senior officials with the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and the relevant ministry, then known as the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

After an extensive review of the evidence gathered, the Ombudsman determined that the government’s decision was a matter of broad public policy, and decided not to launch a formal investigation. In a publicly released letter to complainants explaining this decision in March 2013, he noted that it is not the Ombudsman’s role to substitute his views for the judgment of elected representatives, but to focus on issues relating to government administration.

The government has since negotiated to retain slots at some racetracks.

Updates on previous SORT investigations

Non-emergency medical transportation services – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ministry of Transportation

In 2011, the Ombudsman completed an investigation into whether the Ministry of Transportation and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care were adequately protecting the public who use non-emergency medical transportation.

Non-emergency transportation services are private companies that transfer hundreds of thousands of patients each year whose condition is deemed “non-critical” and not requiring ambulance service. Most transfers are between medical facilities, long-term care homes and/or patients’ residences. The vehicles resemble ambulances, but are not – and the industry is not regulated.

The investigation found significant problems, including poorly trained staff, inadequate equipment and lack of infection control. The Ombudsman shared a working draft of his findings with the two ministries in May 2011. In June 2011, the then ministers of Transportation and Health and Long-Term Care jointly announced that legislation would be introduced to regulate the industry.

Unfortunately, there has been considerable delay in introducing legislation, in part due to the calling of a provincial election just prior to the ministers’ announcement in June 2011, and the prorogation of the subsequent session of the Legislature in 2012.

The Ombudsman pursued this issue with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, which was to lead the process of regulating the industry. The Ministry began consultations with stakeholders, with a commitment from the Minister that regulation would follow. In late 2012, the Minister received a report and recommendations arising from consultation. That report remains under review by the Minister. SORT continues to monitor this issue and pursues regular updates from the Ministry. The Ombudsman also discussed it with the present Minister of Transportation in May 2013.

“ Our government is taking steps to ensure the safety of passengers being transferred in non-emergency situations. We know this action will make a difference for the patients who rely on these services. I would like to thank the Ombudsman for his crucial input into this important issue. ” – Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“ Our government is committed to the safety of all drivers and passengers, including passengers being transferred during

non-emergency situations. ” – Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation

“Ontario Strengthening Patient Safety: McGuinty Government to Regulate Non-Emergency Medical Transfer Services,” government press release, June 10, 2011

 

Caught in the Act – Expansion of police powers for Toronto G20 summit – Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The Ombudsman’s December 2010 report, Caught in the Act, revealed the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ role in quietly granting police additional powers during the G20 summit held in Toronto in June 2010.

The report highlighted the confusion amongst security personnel and civilians when police used their powers thanks to a new regulation under the virtually-unknown Public Works Protection Act (PWPA) of 1939, which allowed them to search and detain hundreds of protesters and mere bystanders.

In his report, the Ombudsman concluded that the Ministry-sponsored regulation under the PWPA had essentially suspended normal civil rights, resulting in more than 1,000 people being searched and/or detained by security forces. He recommended, among other things, that the PWPA be repealed or replaced to ensure this could not happen again.

The Ministry agreed with this recommendation and introduced legislation to replace the PWPA in February 2012. That bill (Bill 34) limited the extraordinary security measures found in the PWPA to courts, power stations and nuclear facilities. It was referred for third reading but was not proclaimed, and hence died when the Legislature was prorogued in October 2012.

In April 2013, the government introduced Bill 51, the Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, which has similar provisions to the previous bill. It went to second reading on April 24, 2013.

Monitoring of long-term care homes – Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

In December 2010, the Ombudsman released his findings on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s compliance monitoring of long-term care homes, a SORT investigation launched in July 2008. At that time, the Ombudsman noted that the Ministry’s efforts were “a work in progress,” thanks to the proclamation of new legislation and an ongoing Ministry project to transform the compliance system. The Ombudsman and SORT have closely monitored the Ministry’s efforts in this area ever since.

The Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over long-term care homes themselves, a mixture of for-profit private, charitable and municipal homes (we received 70 complaints about long-term care homes this year; for more on this, see the section of this report entitled Beyond Scrutiny – MUSH sector update). His investigation focused on the effectiveness of the Ministry’s monitoring of the homes and whether its standards were realistic or detracting from effective compliance monitoring and patient care.

The investigation revealed four areas of concern: Inconsistent application of the standards used to monitor long-term care homes; delayed inspections; a lack of rigour in investigating complaints; and inadequate public reporting of compliance inspection findings.

The Ministry has provided progress updates to the Ombudsman on a semi-annual basis since 2010, and the Ombudsman continues to monitor complaints from the long-term care sector and remains in contact with related stakeholders.

In his December 18, 2012 progress update letter, the Deputy Minister said the Ministry had addressed all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations and cited such accomplishments as:

•     Full implementation of the redesigned Long-Term Care Homes Quality Inspection Program, which guides the enforcement of standards set out in the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, and Ontario Regulation 79/10, which came into force on July 1, 2010; and

•     the introduction of the Centralized Intake, Assessment and Triage Team in the fall of 2012. This team receives, assesses and triages complaints about long-term care homes and all critical incidents they report.

The Deputy Minister also acknowledged the role of the Ombudsman’s Office in improving oversight of long-term care homes:

“ I would like to thank you for your recommendations, guidance and support of the improvements that have been made in the [long-term care] home sector. As a result, I believe that we have a greatly improved program in place today that helps to ensure residents in Ontario’s [long-term care] homes are safe, and are receiving high quality care….

“ I am also very pleased that over the past three years, our organizations worked collaboratively, transparently shared information, and developed strong, productive relationships. This was instrumental in being able to implement all of the recommendations. ”

Notwithstanding the progress that has been made, the Ombudsman continues to receive serious complaints about how the Ministry monitors the long-term care system. In the past fiscal year, we received 35 complaints about the Ministry’s Performance Improvement and Compliance Branch. They include concerns about the quality of investigations, delayed inspections and reports, and a lack of follow-up by the Ministry in cases of non-compliance. SORT is assessing these complaints and the Ombudsman is considering what action should be taken, including whether or not to launch a follow-up investigation

Oversight Undermined and Oversight Unseen – Ministry of the Attorney General and Special Investigations Unit

The Ombudsman has done two investigations and issued two reports related to the Special Investigations Unit – the agency that conducts independent investigations when police are involved in incidents of serious injury or death. The first, Oversight Unseen (2008), focused on the SIU’s operational effectiveness and credibility; the second, Oversight Undermined (2011), looked into the Ministry of the Attorney General’s response to the first report.

In both reports, the Ombudsman called on the Ministry and government to support the work of the SIU through clearer, stronger legislation outlining the SIU’s mandate and police obligations to co-operate with it.

The Ombudsman revealed in Oversight Undermined that rather than supporting the SIU in holding police to account, the Ministry was, in some respects, actively undermining it. He pointed to an internal Ministry email that noted his recommendations calling for stronger legislation supporting the SIU were not acted upon “largely due to vehement police opposition.”

“ This is not a criticism, but a fact of life: The police lobby is very powerful – in fact, I can’t think of another interest group in society that is more powerful. Police put their lives on the line to stop crime and protect our communities. They are heroes to many of us. And … they have guns. ”

“What’s Wrong – and Right – With Ontario’s Police Oversight,” Speech by Ombudsman André Marin, Carleton University “Policing the Public” symposium, Ottawa, March 9, 2013

 

Since the release of Oversight Undermined, the Ombudsman has received regular updates from the SIU on apparent ongoing problems with co-operation by police services – in particular, failure or delay by police services in notifying the SIU of incidents within its mandate; and witness officers refusing to answer questions about whether they consulted with a lawyer before writing their notes.

As well, while some police services – such as the Ontario Provincial Police and Windsor and Brantford local police – have shown a marked increase in responding to letters from the SIU Director about problems, others continued to ignore them. For example, the SIU wrote 19 letters to the Toronto Police Service in 2012, raising concerns about various failures to co-operate with the SIU during investigations. It received no written response.

For its part, the Ministry has yet to respond substantively to the Ombudsman’s recommendations. In December 2012, the Ombudsman wrote to the Attorney General to request a report on what steps the Ministry plans to take to reinforce the integrity of the SIU’s investigative process. The Attorney General committed to a review of SIU/police-related issues commencing in 2013. The Ombudsman requested detailed quarterly updates on the progress of this review.

Meanwhile, some of the key issues raised in the Ombudsman’s reports have figured prominently in recent court cases.

The failure of Toronto Police to notify the SIU was raised in a provincial court case in March 2013, in which a judge found a Toronto Police officer used excessive force in arresting 30-year-old Toronto chef Raymond Costain. Provincial court Justice Ford Clements said two officers seemed “indifferent to the truth” and had attempted to cover up Costain’s injuries by turning off the cameras in their cars; the SIU was also not notified of the incident.

And in April 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal of an Ontario Court of Appeal case dealing with the issue of police association lawyers vetting officers’ notes before submitting them to the SIU. The Ontario court ruled in 2011 that officers cannot have a lawyer vet their notes. The case stems from two fatal shootings of civilians by Ontario Provincial Police officers, whose families are seeking a court declaration that vetting of police notes is improper. In Oversight Unseen, the Ombudsman also recommended that this practice not be allowed. The Supreme Court’s decision is pending.

Another recommendation from Oversight Unseen was echoed by the Law Society of Upper Canada in November 2012, when it issued an advisory under the Rules of Professional Conduct to lawyers representing police officers, prohibiting them from representing multiple officers in SIU investigations.

In a March 2013 speech to a symposium at Carleton University on police oversight, the Ombudsman reiterated his call for new legislation to bolster the SIU. He said the legislation should:

  • Clearly define what kind of “serious injury” should trigger the SIU’s mandate;
  • Allow the SIU to investigate police obstruction of its mandate and lay charges when it happens; and
  • Prohibit police lawyers representing multiple officers and interfering with notes.

The Ombudsman also called on police services boards to hold police chiefs accountable by making their duty to co-operate with the SIU a performance objective in their contracts.

The Ombudsman will continue to monitor issues relating to the SIU.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place – Care and custody of children with severe special needs – Ministry of Children and Youth Services

In his 2005 report, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the Ombudsman revealed the disturbing problem of parents of children with severe special needs being forced to surrender their custody to children’s aid societies (CASs) in order to obtain the care they needed. At that time, and several times since, the government committed to ensuring this would no longer happen. Nevertheless, parents continue to complain that they have been pushed to make this heart-wrenching choice. There were two such cases in 2012- 2013.

In the first case, a CAS case worker told the father of an 11-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder, autism and serious behaviour problems that he would have to put the boy in CAS custody so funding could be accessed for placement in a residential treatment program. The boy, who functioned at the level of a six-year-old, had been hospitalized after setting fires three times. The father, a single parent, said the CAS case worker had directed him to the Ombudsman’s Office for help. Ombudsman staff flagged the case to Ministry of Children and Youth Services officials. They provided direction to the local service co-ordination agency and funding and a placement in a group home was arranged for the boy.

In the second case, a worker at the local service co-ordination agency told the mother of a nine-year-old boy her only option was to sign a temporary care agreement with the local CAS so they could access funds to place him in a group home or give her weekend respite. The mother did not want him to go to a group home, but without support services, he had become aggressive and unmanageable at home. Ombudsman staff confirmed that there were no child protection concerns in this case and spoke to the agency about the message it was giving to parents. Soon after, services were arranged for the family, including respite for the mother, family therapy and a placement for the boy in a special classroom.

Ombudsman staff continue to monitor this issue closely. Similar complaints are brought directly to the attention of senior Ministry officials.

Case Summaries

Ministry of the Attorney General

Public Guardian and Trustee

No Parking

A hospital social worker contacted the Ombudsman on behalf of a client of the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT) who was a long-term resident of a psychiatric hospital. The man’s car had been left in the hospital parking lot for eight months and had received 13 parking tickets. The OPGT, which was responsible for handling the man’s financial affairs, did nothing with the car even though it had the man’s agreement to remove and sell it. The tickets were sent to the OPGT, but it did nothing about them.

It wasn’t until the hospital threatened to tow the car away that it was removed by the OPGT and sold. The OPGT’s area manager spoke to Ombudsman staff and acknowledged the lack of response by the man’s assigned representative. The OPGT also agreed to pay the parking tickets at no cost to the man or his credit rating.

Discreditable conduct

A client of the OPGT complained to the Ombudsman about a ruling by a capacity assessor that he was incapable of managing his own financial affairs – a ruling that made the OPGT guardian of the man’s property. The man argued that the assessor had judged him incapable because he refused to acknowledge that he had a debt of about $8,000.

When Ombudsman staff spoke to the OPGT, it was revealed that the capacity assessor had been given the wrong information by the OPGT – the man had no such debt, but rather an unused credit line for $8,000. The OPGT agreed to pay for a new capacity assessment, which found the man was able to manage his own finances.

Consent and Capacity Board

The form so nice, they named it twice

A 76-year-old woman complained to the Ombudsman that despite a ruling of the Consent and Capacity Board (CCB) that found her capable of managing her own affairs, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee was still involved with her finances.

Ombudsman staff determined that the woman had used the wrong form in her dealings with the CCB. It turned out there were two different forms called “Form 18” on the CCB’s website, for requesting a review of a finding of incapacity to manage financial affairs. One form was to request a review of findings under the Mental Health Act; the other for findings under the Substitute Decisions Act.

The patient advocate who assisted the woman used the Mental Health Act Form 18 because she was a patient in a psychiatric facility at that time. But the CCB’s finding did not terminate the jurisdiction of the OPGT because it was made under the Substitute Decisions Act. And in that case, the assessor who made the original finding of incapacity would have to appear at a hearing before the OPGT’s involvement in the woman’s affairs could be terminated.

In the wake of the Ombudsman’s inquiries, the CCB agreed to change the information on its website to clarify the differences between the two versions of “Form 18.”

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

Working for the weekend

An inmate who has a psychiatric illness complained to the Ombudsman that he had not received essential medication over the weekend because there was no nurse on duty at the jail. His condition deteriorated, leaving him with his mind racing and feeling like he was “flipping out.” He said he did not want to be in a similar situation the following weekend.

The health care manager at the jail confirmed that nursing staff had neglected to prepare the inmate’s medication before leaving for the weekend. Senior management at the jail reviewed the incident and reminded those responsible that the dispensing nurse should be contacted at home if an inmate reports missing medication on weekends. The nurse is to assess the situation and go to the jail if warranted to ensure all inmates have their essential medication.

A neighbour in crisis

An inmate in a detention centre called the Ombudsman out of concern for a 19-year-old female inmate who had been cutting herself and was on “suicide watch.” He said she had been taken off her anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medications and was taken to a segregated cell in handcuffs.

Staff at the institution confirmed that the woman had a history of mental illness and cutting herself and had recently been transferred from the young offender system. She was scheduled to be released in four days, and inquiries by Ombudsman staff revealed that she was to be dropped off at a shelter with no treatment or medical support. After Ombudsman staff raised concerns about the woman’s welfare to the detention centre superintendent, she was evaluated by the institution’s psychiatrist, who arranged to have her taken to hospital for further psychiatric evaluation upon her release.

Is there a doctor…?

An inmate complained to the Ombudsman that he was not receiving adequate psychiatric treatment. He had submitted several written requests to be seen by a psychiatrist, a social worker and an addictions counsellor, to no avail. He told Ombudsman staff he was very distressed and would commit suicide if he did not receive treatment.

After Ombudsman staff relayed the inmate’s concerns to the health care manager at the institution, he was immediately assessed by a psychiatrist and prescribed anti-anxiety medication. A social worker and an addictions counsellor also met with him. The inmate later reported to Ombudsman staff that he found the treatment helpful and was feeling better.

An overflow of problems

A correctional officer at a large correctional centre alerted the Ombudsman to poor living and working conditions in an “overflow” unit, used to house inmates who could not be housed in the general population. Due to a shortage of staff, inmates were not getting access to showers, the yard or phones, and garbage was piling up.

After the Ombudsman’s Office contacted the institution’s deputy superintendent, management brought in more staff to ensure inmates had access to showers, the yard and phones, and a plan was made to move the “overflow” inmates out the following week. However, a later follow-up revealed more inmates had been placed in the unit. The deputy superintendent again intervened to ensure the unit would only be used to house inmates serving weekend sentences.

Chief Firearms Officer

Right to Appeal

A gun owner complained to the Ombudsman that the Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) had revoked his authorization to transport a firearm without providing him with a formal notice as required under the Firearms Act. Without the notice, he was unable to challenge the decision in court.

Ombudsman staff determined that the man’s authorization was revoked because he failed to meet the condition that he maintain his gun club membership. CFO officials argued that this constituted a “request” by the man for revocation of his authorization and no notice from them was required.

Senior Ombudsman staff met with the Chief Firearms Officer, who ultimately agreed that a formal notice should have been issued so the man could exercise his right to appeal the revocation in court. It was also agreed that notices of revocation should always be issued in cases where the holder of an authorization fails to meet conditions of the authorization.

Ministry of Community and Social Services

Services for adults with developmental disabilities

Working together

The mother of a 20-year-old man who has complex developmental and medical needs – he has Down Syndrome, uses a ventilator and has other complex medical conditions – turned to the Ombudsman after she was unable to find a permanent residential placement for her son.

While living with his family, the young man received 53 hours per week of nursing care through his local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), but he needed a permanent group home placement. He was still receiving funding for his developmental needs through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services as he “transitioned” to services for adults (under the Ministry of Community and Social Services), but the latter ministry was not able to pay for the same level of care and there was no appropriate residential placement available for him.

Ombudsman staff spoke with management at the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, the Local Health and Integration Network (LHIN) as well as the CCAC. As a result, the three Ministries and LHIN developed a “cluster care” model to accommodate this man and six other people in similar situations – all have developmental disabilities and complex medical needs and are between the ages of 18 and 35. The new residence, part of the campus of a non-profit organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities, opened April 29, 2013.

Family Responsibility Office

Your cheque’s in the mail

A mother who was expecting a child support payment of $5,000 contacted the Ombudsman when she could not get an answer from the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) about the whereabouts of the cheque. Her former spouse – a doctor whose income from the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) was being garnished to pay the child support – confirmed that the money had gone out a week earlier. When she first called the FRO, she was told no payment had been received. Then she was told her cheque had been “damaged.” She was very concerned, as she had been counting on the money.

After Ombudsman staff spoke with FRO officials, it turned out the woman was not alone. Her payment was part of a larger package of support payments, all garnished via OHIP, that had been damaged in the mail. The outside label had become illegible from water damage and it was returned to OHIP, where it sat until FRO officials asked for it to be resent.

Ombudsman staff let the mother know her payment would arrive soon. In less than a week, she received two months’ payments.

Correcting the record

A father complained to the Ombudsman that the FRO had wrongly reported him to a consumer reporting agency (a credit bureau) over $10,825.92 in arrears. The man noted that his son had been living with him for just over a year and he was no longer required to pay support to the boy’s mother.

Ombudsman staff confirmed there was a temporary court order stating there should be no accrual of child support from the time the boy began living with his father, but the order had not been issued for several months, which left the FRO records out of date.

FRO staff agreed to adjust the amount that the father owed and notify the credit bureau. The father paid the balance owing of $5,250 and noted to Ombudsman staff that once they became involved in his case, FRO representatives who dealt with him were very helpful.

Paid in full

A mother who was owed a significant amount of back child support complained to the Ombudsman that FRO officials were refusing to exercise their option to have her ex-husband jailed for failing to pay, as provided for in a judge’s order.

After Ombudsman staff inquired about the case, FRO staff stepped up their enforcement efforts including obtaining a lien on the man’s home, garnishing his bank account and suspending his driver’s licence. The man soon paid off his child support arrears in a lump sum of $12,075.75.

To his credit

A man complained to the Ombudsman that the FRO had wrongly garnished half his wages and left him with a bad credit rating. His lawyer had even written to the FRO, advising that it had misread the terms of his 2010 court order, but it changed nothing.

Ombudsman staff reviewed the court order. It said the man initially owed $16,593 in support but he had paid $12,692. FRO officials wrongly continued to say he owed the full amount, when he only owed $3,871.

In recognition of its mistakes, FRO staff deleted the man’s poor credit report and adjusted his account. He paid the balance owing.

Ontario Disability Support Program

An error in your favour

A man who was owed money by the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) dating back to December 2010 complained to the Ombudsman in August 2012 that he had been shortchanged. He calculated that he was owed $8,968 but had received only $1,140.

Ombudsman staff contacted ODSP staff, who discovered that there had been a computer error in the man’s case. They immediately arranged for him to be sent a cheque for the rest of the money. He passed on “a great big thank you” to Ombudsman staff.

No answer

The father of a 40-year-old severely disabled woman applied for ODSP benefits on her behalf when she gained landed immigrant status in October 2011. He complained to the Ombudsman after he heard nothing for three months – no answer to a dozen phone calls, eight voice messages, an in-person inquiry, and several written inquiries.

Once Ombudsman staff spoke with the man’s local ODSP office, a verification interview was immediately arranged. The daughter’s application was sent on to the Disability Adjudication Unit and she was approved in February 2012 to receive $814 a month.

The Ombudsman’s inquiries revealed that the local office had not been following ODSP rules requiring applications to be processed within three weeks. The office developed a tracking system for new applications to avoid delays – a system that proved so successful, ODSP adopted it for use across the province in February 2013.

Going retro

A man complained to the Ombudsman in October 2012 about a dispute with the ODSP over when his eligibility for benefits should begin. He had notified his local ODSP office in September 2010 that he qualified for benefits, but his application went nowhere despite inquiries from his lawyer.

After Ombudsman staff inquired about the status of the man’s application, the ODSP granted him $10,000 in retroactive disability benefits back to May 2011. In response to additional inquiries from Ombudsman staff about this eligibility date, the ODSP reviewed the file again and agreed to make it March 2011 – meaning the man received another $709 in benefits.

The ODSP also provided him with a written decision, allowing him to request an internal review and appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal if he still disagreed with the eligibility date.

Right from the start

An ODSP recipient complained to the Ombudsman about a dispute over her application for a special diet allowance – which can be recommended by a recipient’s doctor. She had asked to apply for the allowance when she first applied for support in November 2009, but ODSP staff would not give her a form. She was told she could not apply for a special diet allowance until her ODSP application was approved – which was 10 months later (July 2010). Her doctor then completed the form, noting that she had six longstanding medical conditions that required a special diet, including celiac disease and multiple food allergies, and she was granted the special diet allowance with an effective date of January 2011 – when the form was completed.

The woman argued that her special diet allowance payments should have commenced in July 2010, when she was deemed eligible for ODSP benefits. The Social Benefits Tribunal denied her appeal because ODSP policy stated that special diet allowance payments begin the date the form is completed.

Ombudsman staff asked ODSP to review the woman’s case, noting that her need for a special diet dated back to when she was deemed eligible for ODSP. Upon further review, ODSP staff agreed the woman should have been given the diet form when she first applied for benefits. She received a retroactive payment of the allowance of $1,298.39, dating back to July 2010.

ODSP also updated its procedures to ensure all offices provide applicants with the forms for such allowances upon request when they first apply for support.

A 14-year wait

A woman complained to the Ombudsman about a dispute with the ODSP Overpayment Recovery Unit that dated back to 1998. She explained that back then she was ordered by a court to repay $1,150 because she had collected other benefits at the same time as ODSP. She had paid the debt and had receipts to prove it, but ODSP was insisting she owed $8,000 and had even garnished her recent federal income tax refund of $1,058.

Ombudsman staff spoke to officials at the Overpayment Recovery Unit, who agreed to review the woman’s file. When they were unable to find confirmation of the amount owed, they agreed to cancel the debt and refund the amount that had been taken from her tax refund.

Lost in the shuffle

The mother of a developmentally disabled boy applied for ODSP benefits on his behalf in January 2012, four months before he was to turn 18 and become eligible for them. ODSP staff advised parents at an information seminar at the boy’s school to apply early because of the lengthy application process. The mother submitted a “pre-application” form at her local ODSP office. She noticed the office date-stamped the form, but she was not given a receipt or copy.

Three months later, she called ODSP to follow up on the status of the application and was told to give them more time. She called again in May and was referred to the Disability Adjudication Unit – which in turn told her it did not have her file. When the ODSP office again checked its computer system, it found no record of her application. She submitted a new application and her son was granted benefits in August, four months after he turned 18.

The mother complained to the Ombudsman when her request for benefits retroactive to her son’s birthday in April was denied. Ombudsman staff spoke to ODSP officials about their policy on distributing and processing “pre-application” forms. They agreed to grant the son benefits retroactive to April. As well, they agreed that pre-application forms should be tracked and assigned to case workers to ensure they are properly entered into their system.

A failure to communicate

A man who lost his appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal about a 2010 ODSP overpayment assessment was advised to complain to the Ombudsman by a member of the tribunal itself. The tribunal had no discretion to waive the overpayment assessment, but the member felt the Ombudsman might be able to help the man with what appeared to be errors and poor communication on ODSP’s part.

ODSP wanted the man to repay $37,206.46 in benefits he received from 2006-2009, even though the man demonstrated that he had provided ODSP with correct information about his situation throughout that time. Ombudsman staff contacted senior Ministry officials about the case. Their review found that the overpayment had accrued solely because of poor communication among the staff dealing with the man’s case. They noted that ODSP had since changed its work assignments to ensure an individual case worker was responsible for each case instead of a team, minimizing the risk of communication errors.

The Ministry ultimately agreed the man would not have to repay the money and wrote the debt off as uncollectible.

Ministry of Energy

Hydro One

That smarts

After a Hydro One customer’s new “smart meter” was installed in October 2011, she noticed her hydro bills were unusually high. She wondered whether she was still being billed based on the old meter’s readings. She unsuccessfully tried to resolve the issue with Hydro One by calling them a dozen times, with no luck. In February 2012, worried about her service being disconnected or having to pay interest, she paid her suspiciously high hydro bill and contacted the Ombudsman.

In response to Ombudsman staff inquiries, Hydro One discovered that a problem did occur when the old meter was switched to the new, and they acknowledged that the woman was overbilled by $1,794.32, which they credited to her account.

Commercial-free

A woman complained to the Ombudsman that Hydro One had charged her commercial rates on a residential property. She had owned the property since August 2009, but the discrepancy only came to light when a tenant in a building on the property set up his own Hydro account in June 2012.

The woman immediately contacted Hydro One to confirm that her property was wrongly classified as commercial and that she should be charged at the lower residential rate. She was unable to get Hydro One to update her account.

In response to inquiries from Ombudsman staff, Hydro One staff reviewed her file, agreed to change her account to residential – and refunded her the $494.04 she had been overcharged.

Ministry of Finance

Municipal Property Assessment Corporation

Death and taxes

The owner of a funeral home and crematorium complained to the Ombudsman that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) had unfairly assessed his property. Although it had previously exempted it from property taxes entirely, in 2010 it assessed only the cemetery as exempt and required him to pay taxes on the crematorium for 2008-2012.

The owner noted that other crematoriums in the province had not been required to pay property tax for this period. In fact, new legislation in 2012 recognized that MPAC had historically been inconsistent in its assessment of crematoriums. It provided that those established prior to 2002 would be exempt from property taxes, and refunds would be issued to anyone who paid such taxes in 2010-2012.

The man received a refund for 2010-12 but argued he should be refunded for 2008-2009 as well. As a result of inquiries from Ombudsman staff, MPAC officials agreed to reimburse him for the property taxes he paid in those years due to their assessment.

Wet and wild

A woman complained to the Ombudsman after requesting a reduction in her property assessment from MPAC and the Assessment Review Board (ARB). She argued that she was unable to use a large portion of her land because it had been zoned as protected wetland by the local conservation authority. MPAC had offered to reduce her assessment by 10%, which the ARB changed to 21%. This reduced the assessed value of her property to $350,000 from $443,000, but she felt it was still not low enough.

Ombudsman staff contacted the Land Program Administrator at the Ministry of Natural Resources to discuss whether its Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program was available for the woman. The program provides tax exemptions for wetlands that are assessed as significant to the province through its Wetland Evaluation System. The program administrator confirmed that the land in question might fall into a category called “low and wet,” which would result in a reduction of taxes.

The woman’s land was evaluated under the Wetland Evaluation System and deemed “low and wet.” As a result, MPAC reconsidered its evaluation of her property and applied a further 9% reduction to be factored into her next property valuation.

Increase in confusion

Owners of two different properties complained to the Ombudsman about confusion over how and when to appeal property assessment change notices issued by MPAC. These notices address changes to a property that affect its value, such as renovations or additions.

In both cases, the owners received these notices in the fall, around the same time they received their regular MPAC assessment notices for the following taxation year. Confusion arose because MPAC’s deadline to file a request for reconsideration of an assessment change notice is 90 days from the date of the notice, while the deadline to have regular property assessments reconsidered is March 31 of the following year. MPAC also requires owners to file separate requests for each reconsideration.

One complainant had submitted a single request for reconsideration of both notices. She said MPAC’s customer service staff had not told her otherwise, and as a result she was unable to appeal the values in the assessment change notice. The second complainant was in a similar situation because he mistakenly believed the March 31 deadline applied to both notices.

Although both were given information on how to appeal their assessments to the Assessment Review Board, Ombudsman staff brought the cases to the attention of senior MPAC officials so they could avert future complaints.

As a result, MPAC updated its website to direct property owners to an explanation page and frequently asked questions about newly built homes, additions and renovations, and to make the application deadlines more visible on the notices. Ombudsman staff will continue to discuss improvements with MPAC to make information on revised assessment values more accessible.

Ministry of Government Services

Office of the Registrar General

A father’s ordeal

The father of a two-month-old baby girl contacted the Ombudsman out of frustration after trying to obtain a birth certificate for his daughter from the Office of the Registrar General. His wife had died of a stroke nine days after giving birth.

The bereaved man wanted to take the baby to visit relatives outside of Canada, but the Office of the Registrar General (ORG) would not issue a birth certificate because the mother had not completed the required application before she died. He had provided them with her death certificate and a report from the coroner’s office but this was not enough. The ORG still wanted him to prove he was the baby’s father by obtaining an affidavit to that effect from his deceased wife’s parents. The man explained that his in-laws lived in a remote rural village in Asia, did not speak or write English, and he was unable to communicate with them.

Ombudsman staff contacted a senior ORG manager, who agreed to accept the couple’s marriage certificate from Asia (which included a picture of the couple), as well as documents confirming the deceased mother was a permanent Canadian resident and married to the father. Once the ORG received these documents and the mailing address of the in-laws, it issued the man a birth certificate for his baby daughter.

Past deadline

A mother complained to the Ombudsman that she was having trouble getting birth certificates for three of her four children because they had not been registered within a year of their birth. One daughter, age 4, had cognitive and physical disabilities, but the mother could not obtain benefits for her without a birth certificate.

The ORG told the mother she would have to pay a fee for late registration of the three births, which would require legally sworn affidavits. She estimated this would cost her at least $300 that she could not afford.

Ombudsman staff contacted senior managers at the ORG, who reviewed the woman’s file and found that her youngest child’s birth had in fact been registered within one year, meaning she could obtain his certificate via a simple online application. They also arranged for ServiceOntario staff to process her applications for the other two children, without her incurring any additional expenses or fees.

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Community Care Access Centre

Costly convalescence

A woman complained to the Ombudsman about a bill she received for convalescent care after being released from hospital. Her local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) had arranged to have her spend several months at a seniors’ housing residence that offers recuperative programs – which then sent her a bill for $1,564 that she could not pay.

The CCAC responded to Ombudsman staff inquiries that under its policies, and regulations in the Nursing Homes Act, 90 days of convalescent care is provided free of charge. However, the woman was billed for two additional weeks at the residence when her stay there was extended.

Inquiries by Ombudsman staff revealed that the woman’s stay was extended because she had been evicted from her own place of residence and had nowhere to go. The CCAC acknowledged that it and the seniors’ residence should have flagged this situation and helped the woman’s family identify other options. They agreed jointly to cover the bill on compassionate grounds.

Trillium Drug Program

Income outrage

A woman with complex health problems complained to the Ombudsman in September 2012 that the Trillium Drug Program had cut off coverage of her prescription medications, which cost her about $5,000 per year.

Trillium had assessed her deductible at more than $10,000, based on federal income tax information from the Canada Revenue Agency that reflected a one-time pension payout she received when she left her full-time job in 2011. In fact, her living expenses and prescription drug costs exceeded her annual income from a part-time job. She had written to Trillium to explain this situation but heard nothing for two months.

Ombudsman staff spoke with senior staff at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and explained that the woman’s 2011 income had been inflated by the pension payout. Ministry staff agreed to reassess her deductible so that her prescription drug costs could be fully covered. That same day, Trillium staff called the woman and clearly explained to her the documentation needed to reassess her deductible. This was done within two weeks.

The woman told Ombudsman staff: “Without your help, I do not think that things would have been resolved so quickly.”

Ontario Health Insurance Plan

20-20 hindsight

A 72-year-old man who had been treated for a rare form of melanoma in one eye was recommended for a specialized form of radiation therapy in the U.S. after cancer spread to his liver. His oncologist had had other patients successfully treated at the same U.S. hospital, funded through the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) Out-of-Country program.

The man complained to the Ombudsman after officials at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care declined his out-of-country application in July 2012. They advised Ombudsman staff that the treatment was experimental and had not been funded for other patients. The man started chemotherapy in Ontario, but his cancer progressed.

Ombudsman staff asked Ministry officials to review the file, and when they did, they discovered that in fact, other patients had been approved for the same treatment in the U.S. By then, however, the man’s condition had advanced so that he was no longer considered eligible for the treatment. Instead, his oncologist recommended him for a different specialized treatment at the same hospital, which the Ministry approved in September 2012. After two treatments, the man reported that his condition had greatly improved and his tumours were shrinking.

Ministry officials acknowledged the need for a better system of tracking treatments approved under the Out-of-Country program. They also noted that the Ministry will rely on the expertise of Cancer Care Ontario when dealing with requests for funding out-of-country cancer treatments.

Vision of the future

The Ombudsman received four complaints in 2011 about the lack of funding for a relatively new eye surgery known as “CXL” – Corneal Collagen Cross Linking – which involves a riboflavin solution treatment for keratoconus, a condition that causes thinning of the cornea and vision loss.

All four complainants had been recommended for the treatment by medical professionals, but it was not covered by OHIP. They had all been told that their condition was worsening and they would eventually need a corneal transplant – once they reached the point of vision loss. By contrast, their specialist recommended CXL treatment as a way to improve their vision and stop progression of the disease – but it would cost up to $4,000.

Officials at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care told Ombudsman staff that they were discussing CXL treatment with the Ontario Medical Association and had received numerous inquiries from the public. The Ministry conducted an evidence-based review of the procedure to determine whether it should be covered by OHIP.

In early 2013, the Ministry launched a three-year pilot project to provide funding for CXL treatment through the Kensington Eye Institute. The Ministry will review the success of the procedure to determine whether or not patients subsequently still require corneal transplants. Once the data from the pilot project is reviewed, the Ministry will then determine whether CXL should be permanently added to the schedule of OHIP benefits.

Ministry of Labour

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

Nearly derailed

A Kingston man who had to undergo a medical assessment to maintain his Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) benefits contacted the Ombudsman because he could not afford to pay his way to Toronto for the appointment. He had been told that the Board would pay his travel expenses, but he had called them repeatedly for a week and had received no response. He was afraid that his benefits would be cut off if he did not have the assessment.

When Ombudsman staff contacted the WSIB, they discovered the man’s case manager had been changed without his knowledge. The WSIB arranged to pay for his train and taxi fare and overnight hotel in Toronto, and he was able to maintain his benefits.

Ministry of Natural Resources

Fishing for proof

A Métis woman who holds a commercial fishing licence complained to the Ombudsman that she had been fighting with the Ministry of Natural Resources for six years to have her annual fishing royalty fees of $4,000 waived. She said the Ministry had asked her to provide proof that she was a member of an historic Métis community, describe her connection to the modern-day community and provide evidence of an historic and contemporary fishing right practiced in her area.

The woman had documentation from the Métis Nation of Ontario that she was a member based on their research, and felt strongly that it was not appropriate for a provincial public servant to determine whether or not she was Métis. She also argued that the information the Ministry was asking her to provide was unattainable, and that in any event, the Supreme Court of Canada had held in 2006 that Métis persons were exempt from the payment of fishing royalties.

Ombudsman staff contacted a Ministry manager who acknowledged that it might not be possible for the woman to obtain the information that the Ministry had requested. After a number of discussions, it was agreed that a genealogist would review the Métis Nation of Ontario’s documentation on the woman’s background.

In September 2012, the genealogist confirmed the documentation established that the woman was of Métis ancestry. Based on this information, the Ministry reimbursed her for fishing royalties paid from 2010-12, totalling about $10,000.

Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities

Ontario Student Assistance Program

Relief granted

A university student with a disability complained to the Ombudsman after receiving conflicting information about whether or not he was eligible for grants through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The Student Financial Assistance Branch first told him he had not provided adequate documentation relating to his disability. Then, when he contacted them again, he was told that they had his documents but he would have to file an appeal, which he did. After 17 months, he had received no response.

Ombudsman staff contacted officials at the branch, who discovered a number of mistakes had been made, and the student had been entitled to federal grants for 2007-2010. Working with their federal counterparts, they helped the student receive $6,000 in disability grants, which were put towards repaying his student loans.

Stress therapy

A university student with a disability complained to the Ombudsman that he was being pursued by a collection agency to repay part of a grant he received through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). An Ombudsman staff member contacted OSAP’s head office, which reviewed the student’s file. The student had received a total grant of $1,500 for treatment for his disability, and $711 of his expenses had been approved. The remaining $789 had been spent on a therapy that was not pre-approved by OSAP, so it was insisting the student repay that amount, although he had submitted receipts for the therapy.

Further inquiries revealed that the student had been told by a counsellor at his university that he could use his grant money for this treatment. Given that he had been given inaccurate information, OSAP agreed to cancel the debt and called off the collection agency.

Ministry of Transportation

Double trouble

A man complained to the Ombudsman that his auto insurance was about to be suspended because two convictions for speeding had been mistakenly entered on his driving record – for only one offence. He had contacted the provincial court where he was convicted and officials there confirmed there should be only one conviction, but he had been unable to get the second entry deleted through the Ministry of Transportation. He was very concerned because his job required him to drive and without valid insurance, he would be unable to work.

Ombudsman staff contacted the Ministry of Transportation, which immediately confirmed the man was correct. The duplicate entry was deleted from his record and his insurance was reinstated.

End of the line

A man complained to the Ombudsman about a frustrating delay in getting his driver’s licence reinstated. It had been suspended after he suffered a seizure while driving, which was duly reported to the Ministry of Transportation. The man’s doctor had put him on morphine as a painkiller for a work-related back injury, but he had stopped taking it without consulting the doctor. The doctor determined that stopping the medication was the sole reason for the seizure, and he wrote to the Ministry to explain the circumstances and recommend that the man’s licence be restored.

The man was told a decision would take 30 days. When he received no word, his doctor called the Ministry and was told he would have his licence back in a few more days. Again this did not happen. The next time the doctor called the Ministry, he was told there was a missing form that had to be completed before the licence could be reinstated. The form was sent, but the man still did not get his licence. After another 10 weeks of waiting – during which the self-employed man was unable to drive himself to business meetings – he complained to the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman staff contacted Ministry officials, who arranged to have the man pick up a new temporary licence at his local ServiceOntario outlet the next day. Ministry staff apologized for the delay and revealed that the man’s file had been mistakenly sent to the “back of the queue” after the form from his doctor was received.

Your Feedback

“ My colleagues and I value the work of the Ontario Ombudsman in fostering a more open, accountable and responsive government. I commend the vital role you play in making sure that the provincial government acts in the best interests of Ontarians and serves them optimally. ” Letter from then Premier Dalton McGuinty, July 2012
“ There is one name and one number that everyone trusts and that everyone can find. The one title that people identify with fairness, with objectivity, with impartiality … regardless of where you’re from, regardless of what your faith is, what your race is, how old you are… and that is the Office of the Ombudsman. ” John Vanthof, NDP MPP (Timiskaming-Cochrane), Hansard, March 28, 2013
“ In your seven years as Ombudsman, you have launched systemic investigations into complex issues, ensured accountability among provincial agencies and positively influenced government policy. I offer my sincere congratulations. ” Letter from Allan Rock, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa, April 2012 “ On behalf of our members, I congratulate you on the well-deserved recognitions and would like to express my gratitude for your commitment in the field of ombudsmanship, and specially your contribution to the [International Ombudsman Institute] by providing it with the valuable ‘Sharpening Your Teeth’ training. ” Letter from Peter Kostelka, International Ombudsman Institute Secretary General, October 2012
“ The expertise of the Ombudsman of Ontario [regarding police oversight] has been very valuable to our Office. Our exchanges at various levels over several years on this subject have demonstrated the importance of co-operation between parliamentary ombudsmen. ” Letter from Raymonde Saint-Germain, Quebec Ombudsman, March 2013

Comments from Facebook and Twitter

“ André Marin and the Office of the Ombudsman do great work in making Ontario a better place for all Ontarians! ” Gina Konjarski, via Facebook
“ I think it’s a great idea that you’re not only on Twitter, but ACTIVELY on Twitter. Good call! ” @AshleyDevine1, via Twitter
“ I am glad that you are fighting for the people, ensuring govt checks/balances, and “humanizing” bureaucratic policies ” @AndrewGOBrien, via Twitter
“ I salute you sir! You are one of the few public officials we can TRUST! ” @Hohummm, via Twitter
“ Ontario is fortunate to have an Ombudsman like Mr. Marin. His passion for fairness and accountability, compounded by his no-nonsense approach, makes him a leader in the international Ombudsman world. ” Danielle Cardinal, via Facebook
“ Used @Ont_Ombudsman’s Twitter account in a presentation today. He’s doing it right. #socialmedia ” @frankchartrand, via Twitter

General comments from complainants

“ Thank you so much for your time and help. I really appreciated it. ” Complainant
“ After many years of trying, you have helped me resolve this issue once and for all. I have received my money and my file has been closed. I really appreciate the help. ” Complainant
“ Thank you for the great help you gave me. You really did some wonderful work and you surely saved me a lot of trouble and I’m very thankful. ” Complainant
“ Your patience and thoughtfulness was evident form the first telephone contact… I am grateful for all of the time and effort you dedicated to my complaint. I am so pleased to know there are people like you who go beyond the call of duty. I will forever remember your kindness. ” Complainant
“ Just want to thank you folks for what you do. Very important work! ” Complainant
“ I have been with the FRO for many years, trying to get my child support from my ex-husband. It’s been a frustrating road, to say the least… I just wanted to let you know how thorough and committed I feel [your staff member] has been to my case. It’s truly comforting. ” Complainant
“ Thank you for all that you do for the people and province of Ontario. Yours is a thankless job, but a most important one. So thank you for making Ontario a better place to live. ” Complainant
“ I am very thankful for your and your office’s immensely valuable support in resolving my case in a timely way, and saving me an enormous amount of time and possibly money. ” Complainant
“ Thank you for the excellent work being done by your Office… It has been incredibly refreshing, as an exhausted parent dealing with the maze of government bureaucracy, to have the support of [your staff]. They clearly understand the immediate issues and find ways to identify important related systemic issues. ” Complainant

Comments on In the Line of Duty (October 2012)

“ I have been going through hell since I was diagnosed with the illness PTSD… I am happy to see that you are seeing that the OPP needs to be held responsible. ” OPP officer
“ Your [operational stress injury] report has done wonders for the policing community – I cannot thank you enough. Finally police services are getting their acts together to assist members dealing with OSI. After your report came out I sent it to my Chief… He immediately scheduled a meeting upon his return and long story short I have been seconded to his office to answer to all 34 recommendations on behalf of our service. ” Municipal police constable
“ I am seeing changes within the organization at a speed that I have not seen in 27 years. We have a long way to go, but your office has impacted greatly on the OPP and has caused organizational reflection and hopeful efforts to address and improve our wellness. You are the catalyst to positive change in the future of policing and I am truly appreciative to your office for those who will follow in my footsteps and not have to go through what I have endured for many years. ” OPP officer
“ I would like to congratulate everyone involved on what appears to have been an extremely exhaustive investigation into a highly sensitive matter. It is clear that no rock was left unturned. You should all be commended for meeting this issue head-on. ” OPP officer
“ I and many other officers with PTSD or other stress-related injuries appreciate your attention to these complaints… The officers and families that you spoke with for your report represent only a fraction of officers who are out there and are dealing with this issue, either because of the ‘wall of silence’ or the fact that they haven’t yet been diagnosed… Thank you for tackling this issue head-on and bringing it into the public eye and out of the shadows. ” OPP staff sergeant
“ I would like to commend you for your actions in relation to the suffering of police officers, particularly in the OPP…. I would like to thank you and your staff for addressing the pain and suffering of those who are expected not to feel such pain or respond to their suffering. You are all part of the accountability that is so seriously lacking. ” Retired OPP officer
“ You guys were all there for us, and as we move forward we know that you will continue to monitor [response to] this report. Personal stories from the heart are hard to relay, but you and your colleagues were superb. Thanks again from myself and the rest of the Toronto officers, both living and dead. ” Toronto Police officer
“ I am happy to see that Mr. Marin has brought light to a taboo topic within policing – the fact that we, and our families, suffer from these experiences. Please do not let the police management dissuade you; you have the thanks of the frontline police officers. ” Municipal police officer
“ Absolutely thrilled to see the recommendations … I know a lot of my colleagues as well who work with police and PTSD are really grateful for everything you’ve done. ” Ontario psychologist
“ I salute your clear and emphatic approach to this serious problem. I don’t think the problems can be overstated and you made me cheer with the sense that our Ombudsman really stands up for Ontarians… This gives me hope that the system in Ontario is working. ” Email to Ombudsman

In the Media

“ To heartless bureaucrats and bumbling politicians, André Marin is the proverbial skunk at a garden party. To the little guy fighting Queen’s Park, he’s a breath of fresh air. Since taking over as provincial Ombudsman in 2005, he’s transformed the job from a quiet backwater that rarely raised a ripple to a crusading, high profile scourge of lazy, incompetent or uncaring government officials. ” Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun, June 20, 2012
“ Does Ontario’s Ornge air ambulance service require a new and tough degree of independent oversight? Only about as much as Premier Kathleen Wynne requires the support of one of the opposition parties to stay in power, which is to say: Yes, very much… Why build a new and untested infrastructure when the ombudsman’s office already exists, has the necessary resources and has the track record to prove it can work? Give the oversight job to Marin. It makes sense. ” Howard Elliott, Hamilton Spectator
“ Ontario is lucky to have Ombudsman March 5, 2013 André Marin, who keeps the powerful honest. It’s a good thing for some that he doesn’t have the authority to lay criminal charges. ” Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun, December 29, 2012
“ Hopefully the ombudsman will help curb these excesses and usher in a new era of responsibility and accountability in the way children’s aid societies fulfil their mandate. ” Michael P. Clarke, Hamilton Spectator, October 13, 2012
“ Premier Dalton McGuinty needs to level the playing field to ensure taxpayers have complete access to the services of the Ombudsman. Until the premier acts, taxpayers will be left to drown in the seas of bureaucracy. ” Doug Glynn, Midland Free Press, August 9, 2012
“ Ontario is the only province to restrict complaints by its citizens against municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals and nursing homes. What are they afraid of? If every other province can be open about their problems, why can’t we? ” Kenneth Wood, letter to Brantford Expositor, February 5, 2013
“ Expanding the ombudsman’s power isn’t a matter of tossing a bureaucrat a bone; it’s a matter of giving taxpayers government accountability they can sink their teeth into, something that’ll surely be needed if they’re asked to swallow more corporate approaches to whipping Ontario’s books into shape. ” Greg Van Moorsel, Kingston Whig-Standard, June 22, 2012

Appendix 1 – Complaint Statistics

Appendix 2 – How We Work

Appendix 3 – About the Office
Early Resolutions: The Early Resolutions team operates as the Office’s front line for receiving, triaging and assessing complaints, providing advice, guidance and referrals to complainants. Early Resolution Officers use a variety of conflict resolution techniques to resolve complaints that fall within the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction.

Investigations: Complaints that cannot be easily resolved are referred to Investigations. The Investigations team conducts issue-driven, focused and timely investigations of individual complaints and systemic issues.

Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT): The Special Ombudsman Response Team conducts extensive field investigations into complex, systemic, high-profile cases. SORT investigators work in collaboration with Early Resolutions, Investigations and Legal Services, and additional staff are assigned to SORT as needed.

Legal Services: The Legal Services team ensures that the Office functions within its legislated mandate and provides expert advice to the Ombudsman and staff in support of the resolution and investigation of complaints, the review and analysis of evidence and the preparation of reports and recommendations.

Open Meeting Law Enforcement Team (OMLET): OMLET investigates complaints about closed municipal meetings (received pursuant to the Municipal Act) and engages in education and outreach with municipalities and the public with regard to open meetings. Communications: In addition to co-ordinating the Ombudsman’s reports, brochures, other publications and videos, the Communications team maintains the Ombudsman’s website and social media presence, assists in outreach activities, and provides support to the Ombudsman and staff in media interviews, press conferences, speeches, presentations and public statements.

Corporate and Administrative Services: The Corporate and Administrative Services team supports the Office in the areas of finance, human resources, administration and information technology. Appendix 4 – Financial Report During the fiscal year 2012-2013, the total operating expenditures for the Office were $11.159 million. Miscellaneous revenue returned to the government amounted to $44,000, resulting in net expenditures of $11.115 million. The largest categories of expenditures relate to salaries, wages and employee benefits at $8.561 million, which accounts for 76.7% of the Office’s annual operating expenditures.

 


André Marin: Where ombudsman can’t go

André Marin, National Post | 13/07/16 | Last Updated: 13/07/15 3:42 PM ET

While other provincial ombudsmen dealt with systemic and individual problems in hospitals, we turned away 369 complaints. Only in Ontario are hospitals exempt from ombudsman scrutiny.

TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / The Windsor Star
While other provincial ombudsmen dealt with systemic and individual problems in hospitals, we turned away 369 complaints. Only in Ontario are hospitals exempt from ombudsman scrutiny. .

 

Mahatma Gandhi is often quoted as saying: “The true measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable members.” The quote has been attributed to many great thinkers beyond Gandhi, but it provides a useful test: By this measure, how is Ontario society faring in 2013?

In my work as Ontario’s ombudsman, I hear from thousands of vulnerable people when their public institutions fail them. Going by the nearly 20,000 complaints I received this past year, the news is not encouraging.

For example, few would dispute that prisoners, held at the mercy of their jailers, are among our most vulnerable. But my office’s investigation into the province’s correctional system revealed a dysfunctional and corrupt culture where correctional officers used sadistic force against inmates — sometimes when prisoners were already restrained — and conspired to cover it up by manufacturing and falsifying evidence.

We also found an outdated “suck-it-up” attitude within the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) towards officers suffering from operational stress injuries. Police, like soldiers and others whom society puts in harm’s way, are vulnerable to post-traumatic stress, suicide and other such problems. Our investigation roused the OPP leadership from its time warp and prompted it and government to do more to support those who serve and protect us.

Related
‘Ugly conspiracies’ cover up guards’ brutality in Ontario prisons: ombudsman report
Ontario NDP’s latest budget demand: Give ombudsman oversight over health-care system
Barbara Kay: Attacking the root of children’s aid societies’ rot
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At least we were able to look into these serious systemic issues for police and inmates. For patients in hospitals, residents of long-term care homes, and children and families involved with children’s aid societies, the news was worse.

While other provincial ombudsmen dealt with systemic and individual problems in hospitals, we turned away 369 complaints, because only in Ontario are hospitals barred from ombudsman scrutiny. In Ontario, the routine excuse to keep my office out is the network of some 100 “patient advocates” — including at the Ornge air ambulance service.

But “advocates” are not ombudsmen. They report to hospital management, with no power to investigate, no independence or power to report publicly. The top task listed in the job posting for Ornge’s advocate was to report “compliments and complaints.” This is hardly the description of an independent champion for the vulnerable, who wait in vain for hospital horrors to be investigated.

Camille Parent captured a nightmarish video of abuse and neglect at his mother’s long-term care home in Peterborough that we cannot investigate
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Similarly, a new law in New Brunswick has left Ontario the only province with no ombudsman scrutiny of long-term care homes. My colleagues in Quebec, B.C. and Saskatchewan all helped people at long-term care homes this year. Meanwhile in Ontario, Camille Parent captured a nightmarish video of abuse and neglect at his mother’s long-term care home in Peterborough that we cannot investigate. Instead, the government pledged to hire 100 more inspectors that will report to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Ontario’s child protection system is the only one in Canada immune to Ombudsman oversight
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As for child protection, Ontario’s system is, again, the only one in Canada immune to Ombudsman oversight, simply because we are the only province where government doesn’t directly run the system. That leaves our 46 CASs out of my office’s reach, and vulnerable children and their families without the recourse that we offer to Ontarians who complain about every other government service.

Perhaps former premier Dalton McGuinty was thinking of Gandhi — or whoever first coined the “most vulnerable” test — when he told me, mere days before my annual report last year, that he was ready to start extending our mandate, and “it is not a matter of if, but when” this new jurisdiction would be granted.

Public support for change is strong, too – as demonstrated in more than 41 petitions presented in the legislature this year alone, and grassroots efforts like the drive by a Windsor citizen just last week in support of Bill 42 (a pending private member’s bill to give us oversight of CASs, with support from MPPs of all parties).

Unfortunately, despite the current government mantra of wanting a “fair society,” we do not appear any closer to opening up hospitals, long-term care homes or children’s aid societies to Ombudsman scrutiny, and the true measure of Ontario society is that much diminished.

National Post

André Marin is the Ombudsman of Ontario. He releases his Annual Report on Tuesday, July 16 at 11 a.m. The report and live webcast can be found at Ombudsman.on.ca


Annual Canada Day Pamphlet blitzes.

canada flagCanada Day is one week away and it’s time for our annual Canada Day Pamphlet blitzes.
Aside from our social media & OntarioCfA web form campaign, pamphlet blitzes yield the greatest results at getting the public directly engaged and have resulted in thousands of people contacting their MPP’s.
It’s simple, only requires one individual, any festival so no complicated planning is required or worrying if others will show. It’s also a great way to network with likeminded locals. Also, you’ll quickly find at least one of these institutions are of great concern to everyone you’ll meet!
If you have time (no pressure here) and would like to help us fight for other families this Canada Day, let me know and we’ll help get you going.
Ombudsman Petition (If possible, use multiple clipboards)
http://ontariocfa.com/documents/ombudsman_petition.pdf

Public board trustees vote down Ombudsman motion

Apr 25, 2013 By Eddie Rwema

EMC news – A motion by a south Ottawa public trustee to give the Ontario ombudsman extra authority to investigate and intervene in complaints that aren’t resolved within the school boards, was voted down on April 2.

Gloucester-Southgate trustee Mark Fisher, brought forward the motion seeking support from his fellow trustees to write a letter to the premier and leaders of the official opposition, asking them to re-introduce and support legislation to modernize the Ombudsman act.

Fisher was the only one that voted in favour of the motion.

“I am disappointed but certainly, that will not stop me as an individual trustee moving forward and trying to advocate for this kind of change,” said Fisher.

Public board trustees vote down Ombudsman motionThe legislation that Fisher is fighting for would allow the ombudsman to investigate public complaints involving school boards as well as the governing bodies of universities, hospitals and municipalities

“The majority of the trustees felt that if the Ombudsman had the responsibility to investigate public complaints that would undermine and take away the responsibility from school boards,” he said.

“I think there is a lot of merit in putting in place another level of recourse for parents.”

According to the 2011-12 annual report of the ombudsman, Ontario has fallen behind in oversight of organizations providing critical public services referred to as the “MUSH” sector – municipalities, universities, school boards, hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, police, and children’s aid societies.

“There are parents that find themselves in tough situations and feel they need to seek out another avenue to get another hearing in a more fair and impartial way,” said Fisher.

“Extending these responsibilities to the office of the Ombudsman made ultimate sense to me.”

Fisher said he wished trustees had taken more time to understand how the office of the Ombudsman works and how they could relate to that office in a meaningful and respectful way.

“At the end of the day the Ombudsman is not going to look at any complaint unless due process has been followed and exhausted at the local level – this includes engaging the teacher, then the principal, school board officials and trustees,” he said.

He said the legislation seeks to enhance the level of transparency and accountability in the education sector.

Rideau-Vanier trustee Rob Campbell who chose to abstain said it was unfortunate that the motion was defeated without seeking to improve it.

“I think it is too bad that the board as a whole wasn’t more supportive and I think there was something of value in his motion,” said Campbell.

Campbell said he suggested a few amendments, which Fisher didn’t want to incorporate in his motion, including one that sought the motion to just focus on school boards.

“He declined to seek those amendments so I had to abstain, though I support his motion in principle,” said Campbell.

“If his motion had passed that would be one more avenue for recourse for citizens and I am confident the people I represent would be all for it.”

Campbell added that for years now trustees across the province have felt their powers and authority are not respected.

Fisher said voting down his motion will not stop him from continuing to advocate for it.

“I am going to continue moving forward because I know it is the right thing to do,” Fisher said.

“I have received messages from people across Ontario, commending me on the effort and indicating their disappointment that the board didn’t support it. I am going to talk to local MPPs, write a letter to the premier of Ontario and leaders of the opposition asking them to re-introduce legislation that died because of prolongation.”

In 2011-12, the ombudsman received a record number of complaints and inquiries about the MUSH sector.

During the same period, the ombudsman received 119complaints and inquiries about Ontario’s school boards. None of them could be dealt with.

Many were from parents concerned about things like student suspensions, lack of adequate special education supports, the treatment of students with autism, insufficient consultation about school closures, and inadequate responses to bullying.

These complaints had to be turned away or referred elsewhere.

Article Source:  http://www.emcbarrhaven.ca/20130425/news/Public+board+trustees+vote+down+Ombudsman+motion

 


Statement by Minister Sandals on OSSTF Vote

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Statement by Minister Sandals on OSSTF Vote

April 18, 2013

This evening, Liz Sandals, Minister of Education, issued the following statement:”I am pleased that members of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) have voted in favour of the agreement reached with our government.

Our government and OSSTF have come a long way toward rebuilding our relationship in a collaborative approach which reaffirms our commitment to delivering excellence in our secondary schools for Ontario’s students. That new way forward has also seen our teachers, support staff and students return to enjoying extra-curricular activities.

The idea of living within the existing funding envelope for education was by no means an impediment to the agreement. Instead, it was a catalyst for innovative thinking, collaborative problem-solving and the renewal of our proud partnership with Ontario’s public high school teachers, support staff and school boards.

I want to thank everyone who participated in reaching this agreement and all those who voted in favour of it. All parties showed a willingness to seek common ground in support of our common goal – higher levels of student achievement. The result is an agreement that is fair for taxpayers, federation members and school boards, but the real winners are Ontario’s students.”

 

CONTACTS

Gary Wheeler Communications Branch 416-325-2454 [email protected]

Lauren Ramey Minister’s Office 416-325-2503 [email protected]

Ministry of Education http://www.ontario.ca/education