Ontario to put forward plan to create new financial watchdog

As the first bill in the fall session of the Ontario legislature, Ontario introduced a plan for a new watchdog for legislative spending.

The legislation introduced the establishment of a Financial Accountability Officer.

Ontario will be the first province in Canada to introduce such an oversight measure.

If the legislation passes, the new position would be responsible in providing independent analysis for MPPs about the province’s financial state, the Ontario Budget, and the trends in provincial and national economies.

“We are proposing the creation of a Financial Accountability Officer to further enhance the openness and transparency of government,” said Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa. “This would also include the financial assessment of any public bill brought forward to the Legislature by an MPP. The work undertaken by this independent officer will help better inform the House on possible financial impacts of a proposed bill and increase information available to Ontarians.”

In addition, the officer, at the request of MPPs or a legislative committee, could conduct other financial research.

This is in an attempt to create openness in financial affairs within the legislative among MPPs and the public, extending off such previous actions as the Fiscal Transparency and Accountability Act.

“We are fulfilling our commitments with the introduction of the Financial Accountability Officer Act,” said Government House Leader, John Milloy. “I look forward to working with the opposition to pass this Bill and other important legislation that we will be debating this fall. Ontarians want to see a minority government working, and I’m optimistic we’ll be able to make progress in the Legislature.”

The Financial Accountability Officer would be selected by a panel consisting of a single member from each recognized party, and chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly.

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