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Explanatory Note

chapter 4

An Act to establish a Financial Accountability Officer

Assented to September 26, 2013

CONTENTS

Interpretation

 1.

Definitions

The Financial Accountability Officer

 2.

 3.

 4.

Financial Accountability Officer

Remuneration

Temporary appointment

Administration

 5.

 6.

 7.

 8.

 9.

Budget

Premises and supplies

Consultants

Employees

Delegation

Mandate

10.

11.

Mandate

Assistance to Standing Committee

Access to Information and Disclosure

12.

13.

Duty to give information

Disclosure of information

Reporting Requirements

14.

15.

16.

Annual report

Other reports

Referral of reports to Standing Committee

Miscellaneous

17.

18.

Limitation of liability

Notice re obstruction by a member of the Assembly, etc.

Commencement and Short Title

19.

20.

Commencement

Short title

______________

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

Interpretation

Definitions

1.  In this Act,

“public entity” has the same meaning as in subsection 1 (1) of the Financial Administration Act; (“entité publique”)

“recognized party” has the same meaning as in subsection 62 (5) of the Legislative Assembly Act; (“parti reconnu”)

“record” has the same meaning as in subsection 2 (1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (“document”)

The Financial Accountability Officer

Financial Accountability Officer

2.  (1)  There shall be a Financial Accountability Officer who is an officer of the Assembly.

Appointment

(2)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint the Financial Accountability Officer on the address of the Assembly but only if the person to be appointed has been selected by a panel composed of one member of the Assembly from each recognized party, chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly who is a non-voting member.

Term of office

(3)  The person appointed shall hold office for a term of five years and may be reappointed for one further term of five years.

Removal

(4)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may remove the Financial Accountability Officer for cause on the address of the Assembly.

Restriction re other work, etc.

(5)  The Financial Accountability Officer shall not do any work or hold any office that interferes with the performance of his or her duties as the Financial Accountability Officer.

Remuneration

3.  (1)  The Financial Accountability Officer shall be paid a salary determined by the Board of Internal Economy, and the salary shall be within the range of salaries paid to deputy ministers in the public service of Ontario.

Pension

(2)  The Financial Accountability Officer is a member of the Public Service Pension Plan.

Expenses

(3)  Subject to the approval of the Board of Internal Economy, the Financial Accountability Officer is entitled to be reimbursed for reasonable expenses that he or she incurs in respect of anything done under this Act.

Temporary appointment

4.  (1)  If, while the Assembly is not sitting, the Financial Accountability Officer is unable for any reason to fulfil the duties of his or her office or his or her office becomes vacant, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint a temporary Financial Accountability Officer to act as Financial Accountability Officer for a term of not more than six months.

Selection by panel

(2)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint a temporary Financial Accountability Officer under subsection (1) only if the person to be appointed has been selected by a panel composed of one member of the Assembly from each recognized party, chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly who is a non-voting member.

Powers, duties and salary

(3)  A temporary Financial Accountability Officer shall have the power and duties of the Financial Accountability Officer and shall be paid a salary determined by the Board of Internal Economy, and the salary shall be within the range of salaries paid to deputy ministers in the public service of Ontario.

Administration

Budget

5.  (1)  The money required for the purposes of this Act shall be paid out of the money appropriated for those purposes by the Legislature.

Directives

(2)  The Board of Internal Economy may from time to time issue directives to the Financial Accountability Officer with respect to the expenditure of funds, and the Financial Accountability Officer shall comply with those directives.

Estimates

(3)  The Financial Accountability Officer shall present annually to the Board of Internal Economy estimates of the sums of money that will be required for the purposes of this Act.

Review by Board

(4)  The Board of Internal Economy shall review and may alter the estimates as it considers proper.

Audits

(5)  The accounts and financial statements of the office of the Financial Accountability Officer shall be audited annually by the Auditor General.

Premises and supplies

6.  The Financial Accountability Officer may lease such premises and acquire such equipment and supplies as are necessary for the efficient and proper operation of his or her office.

Consultants

7.  The Financial Accountability Officer may enter into contracts to retain the services of technical and professional consultants.

Employees

8.  (1)  Subject to the approval of the Board of Internal Economy, the Financial Accountability Officer may employ such employees as he or she considers necessary for the efficient and proper operation of his or her office, and the Financial Accountability Officer may determine their salaries or wages and the terms and conditions of their employment.

Salary and wages

(2)  Salaries or wages determined under subsection (1) shall be comparable to the salaries or wages determined under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 for public servants employed under that Part to work in a ministry, other than in a minister’s office, who are in similar positions.

Benefits

(3)  The benefits determined under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 with respect to the following matters for public servants employed under that Part to work in a ministry, other than in a minister’s office, who are not within a bargaining unit apply to the employees of the office of the Financial Accountability Officer:

1. Cumulative vacation and sick leave credits for regular attendance and payments in respect of those credits.

2. Plans for group life insurance, medical-surgical insurance or long-term income protection.

3. The granting of leaves of absence.

Same

(4)  For the purposes of subsection (3), if a benefit applicable to an employee of the office of the Financial Accountability Officer is contingent on the exercise of a discretionary power or the performance of a discretionary function, the power may be exercised or the function may be performed by the Officer or any person authorized in writing by the Officer.

Pensions

(5)  The employees of the office of the Financial Accountability Officer are members of the Public Service Pension Plan.

Delegation

9.  The Financial Accountability Officer may delegate in writing to any person employed in the office of the Financial Accountability Officer the authority to perform any of the Financial Accountability Officer’s functions or to carry out any of the Financial Accountability Officer’s powers, subject to the terms provided for in the delegation.

Mandate

Mandate

10.  (1)  The mandate of the Financial Accountability Officer is to,

(a) provide, on his or her own initiative, an independent analysis to the Assembly about the state of the Province’s finances, including the budget, and trends in the provincial and national economies; and

(b) respond to requests from members of the Assembly and committees of the Assembly to,

(i) undertake research into the Province’s finances and trends in the provincial and national economies,

(ii) undertake research into the estimates and supplementary estimates submitted to the Legislature,

(iii) undertake research into the financial costs or financial benefits to the Province of any public bill that is before the Assembly, or

(iv) undertake to estimate the financial costs or financial benefits to the Province of any proposal that relates to a matter over which the Legislature has jurisdiction, including any proposal made by the Government or by any member of the Assembly.

Financial Accountability Officer may refuse a request

(2)  The Financial Accountability Officer may in his or her discretion refuse any request by a member of the Assembly or a committee of the Assembly.

Interpretation, Province

(3)  A reference in subsection (1) to the Province means the ministries of the Government of Ontario, the public entities and the other entities whose financial statements are included in the consolidated financial statements set out in the Public Accounts.

Assistance to Standing Committee

11.  (1)  At the request of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, the Financial Accountability Officer and any of his or her employees designated by the Financial Accountability Officer shall attend at the meetings of the Committee and shall provide assistance to the Committee.

Same

(2)  Subsection 10 (2) does not apply with respect to a request of the Committee described in subsection (1).

Access to Information and Disclosure

Duty to give information

12.  (1)  Subject to subsections (2) and (3), every ministry of the Government of Ontario and every public entity shall, on request, give the Financial Accountability Officer, free of charge and in a timely manner, any financial, economic or other information that is in the custody or under the control of the ministry or the public entity and that the Financial Accountability Officer believes to be necessary to perform his or her duties under this Act.

Exception, Cabinet records

(2)  A ministry or public entity shall not give the Financial Accountability Officer a record described in subsection 12 (1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, unless either of the circumstances described in clause 12 (2) (a) or (b) of that Act exist.

Exception, personal information, etc.

(3)  A ministry or public entity shall ensure that the following information is not disclosed to the Financial Accountability Officer when the ministry or public entity gives any information under subsection (1):

1. Personal information within the meaning of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

2. Personal health information within the meaning of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.

Same, redaction of information

(4)  For greater certainty, before giving information to the Financial Accountability Officer, a ministry or public entity shall take reasonable steps to redact personal information and personal health information.

Notice re failure to comply with subs. (1)

(5)  The Financial Accountability Officer may notify the Speaker of the Assembly and the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs if the Financial Accountability Officer is of the opinion that a ministry or a public entity has failed to comply with a request under subsection (1).

No waiver of privilege

(6)  A disclosure to the Financial Accountability Officer under subsection (1) does not constitute a waiver of solicitor-client privilege, litigation privilege or settlement privilege.

Disclosure of information

13.  The Financial Accountability Officer is permitted to disclose information that he or she is given under section 12 but only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

1. The disclosure is essential for the performance of the Financial Accountability Officer’s mandate.

2. The Financial Accountability Officer did not obtain the information solely from a record described in section 17 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

3. If the Financial Accountability Officer obtained the information solely from a record described in section 15 or subsection 18 (1) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Executive Council has consented to the disclosure.

4. If the information is subject to solicitor-client privilege, litigation privilege or settlement privilege, each holder of the privilege has consented to the disclosure.

Reporting Requirements

Annual report

14.  The Financial Accountability Officer shall report annually, on or before July 31 of each year, on the work of his or her office to the Speaker of the Assembly who shall lay the report before the Assembly at the earliest reasonable opportunity.

Other reports

15.  (1)  The Financial Accountability Officer may make any other reports as he or she considers appropriate, and may present such report to the public or to any person he or she considers appropriate, but before the presentation shall deliver a copy of the report to the Minister of any ministry or to the head of any public entity to which the report is relevant.

Interpretation, head of a public entity

(2)  A reference in subsection (1) to the head of a public entity is a reference to its chief executive officer or to a person who holds a similar position with respect to the public entity.

Referral of reports to Standing Committee

16.  (1)  Every report by the Financial Accountability Officer stands permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

Standing Committee report

(2)  The Standing Committee may report its observations, opinions and recommendations about the Financial Accountability Officer’s reports to the Assembly from time to time.

Miscellaneous

Limitation of liability

17.  No proceedings lie against the Financial Accountability Officer or any person employed or retained by the Financial Accountability Officer, for anything he or she may do or report or say in the course of the exercise or the intended exercise of his or her functions under this Act, unless it is shown that he or she acted in bad faith.

Notice re obstruction by a member of the Assembly, etc.

18.  The Financial Accountability Officer may notify the Speaker of the Assembly if the Financial Accountability Officer is of the opinion that a member of the Assembly or their staff has interfered with or obstructed, or has attempted to interfere with or obstruct, the Financial Accountability Officer in the performance of his or her duties.

Commencement and Short Title

Commencement

19.  This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

20.  The short title of this Act is the Financial Accountability Officer Act, 2013.

Français

Explanatory Note

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