The City of Ottawa is committed to conducting City business in an open and transparent manner. Being accountable and transparent means the City is committed to measuring and showing how well we are doing in all the areas for which we are responsible, from financial reports to human resource management to service delivery.
In response to the changes to the Municipal Act, 2001, that came into effect in 2007, Ottawa City Council has furthered its commitment to accountability and transparency through the implementation of various integrity officers and additional policies including:
- Implementing a Lobbyist Registry and the Lobbyist Code of Conduct in 2012 to enhance the transparency and integrity of business conducted at City Hall
- Establishing an Integrity Commissioner who, as Lobbyist Registrar, oversees and enforces the Lobbyist Registry as well as the Lobbyist Code of Conduct and whose powers and duties are set out in the Municipal Act, 2001
- Enhancing the position of the Auditor General by granting it the statutory powers of the position as outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001
- Appointing a Meetings Investigator to investigate complaints regarding closed meetings of Council, its Committees and local boards
- Adopting an Accountability and Transparency Policy
- Adopting a Delegation of Powers Policy including accountability and transparency requirements for every new delegation
Since amalgamation in 2001, the City of Ottawa has adopted a number of accountability and transparency practices, including:
- Adopting and implementing best practices in the area of budgeting and financial reporting
- Adopting the “It’s About Accountability” framework in 2004 (such as quarterly financial and purchasing reports and producing a City of Ottawa Annual Report)
- Developing a multi-year City Corporate Plan and Departmental Business Plans (City Strategic Directions)
- Producing a comprehensive annual Human Resources Plan
- Improving customer service with 311 service reporting
- Participating in the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative and quarterly Performance Measurement reports
- Adopting the principles of Open Government and establishing the Open Data Ottawa site where the public can access municipal datasets
Governance Renewal – 2010 to 2014 Council Initiatives
As one of its first items of business, the 2010 to 2014 City Council endorsed a governance renewal program that will further enhance accountability at the local level. It established the Governance Renewal Sub-Committee, a working group of Councillors led by the Mayor, to assess the current governance structure and processes, identify issues and make recommendations to Council on go-forward items.
A major component of the governance renewal process was the establishment of an Accountability Framework for Members of Council. The first stage in the development of the framework was the monthly disclosure of office expenses of Members of Council and the members of the City’s Executive Committee (senior City staff). Expense reports are produced on a monthly basis and broken down into a series of categories such as hospitality, donations and sponsorships and travel. The second stage has been the establishment of the Lobbyist Registry and the appointment of an Integrity Commissioner. The final stage has been the development of a Code of Conduct for Members of Council, a Gifts Registry and an Expense Policy.