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Her Excellency the Governor General recommends to the House of Commons the appropriation of public revenue under the circumstances, in the manner and for the purposes set out in a measure entitled “An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability”.
Part 1 enacts the Conflict of Interest Act and makes consequential amendments in furtherance of that Act. That Act sets out substantive prohibitions governing public office holders. Compliance with the Act is a deemed term and condition of a public office holder’s appointment or employment. The Act also sets out a detailed regime of compliance measures to ensure conformity with the substantive prohibitions, certain of which apply to all public office holders and others of which apply to reporting public office holders. The Act also provides for a regime of detailed post-employment rules. Finally, the Act establishes a complaints regime, sets out the powers of investigation of the Commissioner and provides for public reporting as well as a regime of administrative monetary penalties.
Amongst other matters, the consequential amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act provide for the appointment and office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner along with his or her tenure, expenses, duties and other administrative matters.
Part 1 also amends the Canada Elections Act to
(a) reduce to $1,000 the amount that an individual may contribute annually to a registered party, and create a distinct $1,000 annual limit on contributions to the registered associations, the nomination contestants and the candidates of a registered party;
(b) reduce to $1,000 the amount that an individual may contribute to an independent candidate or to a leadership contestant;
(c) reduce to $1,000 the amount that a nomination contestant, a candidate or a leadership contestant may contribute to his or her own campaign in addition to the $1,000 limit on individual contributions;
(d) totally ban contributions by corporations, trade unions and associations by repealing the exception that allows them to make an annual contribution of $1,000 to the registered associations, the candidates and the nomination contestants of a registered party and a contribution of $1,000 to an independent candidate during an election period;
(e) ban cash donations of more than $20, and reduce to $20 the amount that may be contributed before a receipt must be issued or, in the case of anonymous contributions following a general solicitation at a meeting, before certain record-keeping requirements must be met; and
(f) increase to 5 years after the day on which the Commissioner of Canada Elections became aware of the facts giving rise to a prosecution, and to 10 years following the commission of an offence, the period within which a prosecution may be instituted.
Other amendments to the Canada Elections Act prohibit candidates from accepting gifts that could reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the candidate in the performance of his or her duties and functions as a member, if elected. The wilful contravention of this prohibition is considered to be a corrupt practice. A new disclosure requirement is introduced to require candidates to report to the Chief Electoral Officer any gifts received with a total value exceeding $500. Exceptions are provided for gifts received from relatives, as well as gifts of courtesy or of protocol. The amendments also prohibit registered parties and registered associations from transferring money to candidates directly from a trust fund.
The amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act rename the Act and provide for the appointment by the Governor in Council of a Commissioner of Lobbying after approval by resolution of both Houses of Parliament. They broaden the scope for investigations by the Commissioner, extend to 10 years the period in respect of which contraventions may be investigated and prosecuted, and increase the penalties for an offence under the Act. In addition, they empower the Commissioner to prohibit someone who has committed an offence from lobbying for a period of up to two years, prohibit the acceptance and payment of contingency fees and prohibit certain public office holders from lobbying for a period of five years after leaving office. They require lobbyists to report their lobbying activities involving certain public office holders and permit the Commissioner to request those office holders to confirm or correct the information reported by lobbyists.
Amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act prohibit members of the House of Commons from accepting benefits or income from certain trusts and require them to disclose all trusts to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. The amendments also authorize the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to issue orders requiring members to terminate most trusts and prohibiting them from using the proceeds from their termination for political purposes. In cases where the trusts are not required to be terminated, the amendments authorize the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner to make orders prohibiting members from using the trusts for political purposes. An offence is created for members who do not comply with such orders. The amendments also provide that, in the event of a prosecution, a committee of the House of Commons may issue an opinion that is to be provided to the judge before whom the proceedings are held.
Finally, Part 1 amends the Public Service Employment Act to remove the right of employees in ministers’ offices to be appointed without competition to positions in the public service for which the Public Service Commission considers them qualified.
Part 2 harmonizes the appointment and removal provisions relating to certain officers.
Amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act establish within the Library of Parliament a position to be known as the Parliamentary Budget Officer, whose mandate is to provide objective analysis to the Senate and House of Commons about the estimates of the government, the state of the nation’s finances and trends in the national economy, to undertake research into those things when requested to do so by certain Parliamentary committees, and to provide estimates of the costs of proposals contained in Bills introduced by members of Parliament other than in their capacity as ministers of the Crown. The amendments also provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with a right of access to data that are necessary for the performance of his or her mandate.
Part 3 enacts the Director of Public Prosecutions Act which provides for the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions and one or more Deputy Directors. That Act gives the Director the authority to initiate and conduct criminal prosecutions on behalf of the Crown that are under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General of Canada. That Act also provides that the Director has the power to make binding and final decisions as to whether to prosecute, unless the Attorney General of Canada directs otherwise, and that such directives must be in writing and published in the Canada Gazette. The Director holds office for a non-renewable term of seven years during good behaviour and is the Deputy Attorney General of Canada for the purposes of carrying out the work of the office. The Director is given responsibility, in place of the Commissioner of Canada Elections, for prosecutions of offences under the Canada Elections Act.
Part 3 also amends the Access to Information Act to ensure that all parent Crown corporations, and their wholly-owned subsidiaries, within the meaning of section 83 of the Financial Administration Act are encompassed by the definition “government institution” in section 3 of the Access to Information Act and to add five officers, five foundations and the Canadian Wheat Board to Schedule I of that Act. It adjusts some of the exemption provisions accordingly and includes new exemptions or exclusions relating to the added officers and the Crown corporations. It empowers the Governor in Council to prescribe criteria for adding a body or an office to Schedule I and requires Ministers to publish annual reports of all expenses incurred by their offices and paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. It adds any of those same officers and foundations that are not already included in the schedule to the Privacy Act to that schedule, ensures that all of those parent Crown corporations and subsidiaries are encompassed by the definition “government institution” in section 3 of that Act, and makes other consequential amendments to that Act. It amends the Export Development Act to include a provision for the confidentiality of information. It revises certain procedures relating to the processing of requests and handling of complaints and allows for increases to the number of investigators the Information Commissioner may designate to examine records related to defence and national security.
Amendments to the Library and Archives of Canada Act provide for an obligation to send final reports on government public opinion research to the Library and Archives of Canada.
Finally, Part 3 amends the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act to
(a) establish the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal and empower it to make remedial orders in favour of victims of reprisal and to order disciplinary action against the person or persons who took the reprisal;
(b) provide for the protection of all Canadians, not only public servants, who report government wrongdoings to the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner;
(c) remove the Governor in Council’s ability to delete the name of Crown corporations and other public bodies from the schedule to the Act;
(d) require the prompt public reporting by chief executives and the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of cases of wrongdoing; and
(e) permit the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner to provide access to legal advice relating to the Act.
Part 4 amends the Financial Administration Act to create a new schedule that identifies and designates certain officials as accounting officers and, within the framework of their appropriate minister’s responsibilities and accountability to Parliament, sets out the matters for which they are accountable before the appropriate committees of Parliament. A regime for the resolution of issues related to the interpretation or application of a policy, directive or standard issued by the Treasury Board is established along with a requirement that the Treasury Board provide a copy of its decision to the Auditor General of Canada.
Part 4 also amends the Financial Administration Act and the Criminal Code to create indictable offences for fraud with respect to public money or money of a Crown corporation, and makes persons convicted of those offences ineligible to be employed by the Crown or the corporation or to otherwise contract with the Crown.
Other amendments to the Financial Administration Act clarify the authority of the Treasury Board to act on behalf of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada on matters related to internal audit in the federal public administration. They also set out the deputy head’s responsibility for ensuring that there is an internal audit capacity appropriate to the needs of the department and requires them, subject to directives of the Treasury Board, to establish an audit committee. The Financial Administration Act, the Farm Credit Canada Act and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board Act are amended to require Crown corporations to establish audit committees composed of members who are not officers or employees of the corporation. Other amendments to the Financial Administration Act require, subject to directions of the Treasury Board, that all grant and contribution programs be reviewed at least every five years to ensure their relevance and effectiveness.
Amendments made to the Financial Administration Act and to the constituent legislation of a number of Crown corporations provide for appointments of directors for up to four years from a current maximum of three years.
Part 4 also amends the Canadian Dairy Commission Act, the Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation Act and the National Capital Act to require different individuals to perform the duties of chair of the Board of Directors and chief executive officer of the corporation.
Part 5 amends the Auditor General Act by expanding the class of recipients of grants, contributions and loans into which the Auditor General of Canada may inquire as to the use of funds, whether received from Her Majesty in right of Canada or a Crown corporation. Other amendments provide certain immunities to the Auditor General.
Amendments to the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act provide for the appointment and mandate of a Procurement Auditor.
Part 5 also amends the Financial Administration Act to provide for a government commitment to fairness, openness and transparency in government contract bidding, and a regulation-making power to deem certain clauses to be set out in government contracts in relation to prohibiting the payment of contingency fees and respecting corruption and collusion in the bidding process for procurement contracts, declarations by bidders in respect of specific criminal offences, and the provision of information to the Auditor General of Canada by recipients under funding agreements.
Also available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the following address: