Increasing accountability in public agencies
New standards for Alberta’s agencies, boards and commissions will ensure that members are acting in the best interest of Albertans and will continue the work already done to clean up waste, increase diversity and deliver greater accountability.
Top executives at 52 public agencies are being held to the same ethical standards as deputy ministers in the Alberta Public Service and elected officials. This includes disclosures to, and oversight by, the Ethics Commissioner. As a result, Albertans can be more confident that the province’s agencies, boards and commissions are acting in the public interest.
“Government appointees are here to further Alberta, not further themselves. We’re strengthening laws to make sure everyone appointed to a government position is working for Albertans, first and foremost. Appointees designated in this order will now have to disclose their financial information and direct associates; they will be subject to rules around publicly traded securities and more. These changes are about giving Albertans total confidence that their government is working for them, not friends and political insiders.”
The additional requirements under the Conflicts of Interest Act (COIA) include:
- Disclosure of financial information, and information on direct associates to the Ethics Commissioner.
- Restrictions on holding publicly traded securities.
- A 12 month cooling-off period from taking certain jobs following employment with a public agency.
The Alberta government has made significant improvements to public agencies over the past two years through:
- Cleaning up waste – including cutting salaries and eliminating perks, like golf club memberships, and bonuses for top executives of agencies, boards and commissions.
- More accountability and transparency – requiring public agencies to publicly post compensation as well as employment and severance contracts of senior executives and all board members.
- Increased diversity of appointed board members – publicly posting all board opportunities on the boards.alberta.ca website to increase transparency and ensure that public agencies better reflect Alberta’s diversity.
- The new requirements apply immediately to new appointees. There is a transition period of up to two years for current incumbents.
- The requirements will apply to 54 designated senior officials, including chief executive officer positions and presidents of public post-secondary institutions, in 52 of the province’s significant agencies.
- A significant agency is characterized by one or more of the following:
- performs a regulatory function.
- makes independent and/or binding decisions.
- manages or allocates substantial amounts of public funding.
- interacts extensively with the private sector.