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Federal Accountability Action Plan, April 2006

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The Federal Accountability Action Plan is about strengthening accountability and integrity in government. It is about reassuring Canadians that the Government of Canada is working in their best interests.

Taken together, the legislative and policy measures outlined in this Action Plan are far-reaching and significant. The Action Plan will do the following:

  • It will change the way politics works in Canada. Reforms to political financing rules and a legislated code of conduct for public-office holders will bolster the integrity of the democratic process and raise the bar on ethical conduct. Tighter rules will also ensure that lobbying of senior public-office holders is done ethically, and that government decision making is objective, impartial, and rooted firmly in the public interest.
  • It will enhance Parliament’s role. The Government will provide parliamentarians with independent, objective analysis on economic and fiscal issues, timely and accurate information, and an enhanced role in selecting government appointments. Through strengthened roles for Agents of Parliament, parliamentarians will be in a better position to hold government to account on behalf of Canadians.
  • It will make government more open. Procurement will be fair and free of political interference, without imposing rules that inhibit access to government contracts. The Government will expand the coverage of the Access to Information Act to give citizens more information so they can fully participate in public policy development and hold government to account.
  • It will reinforce the non-partisan, professional excellence of the public service. The Government will clarify roles and responsibilities, ensure that public-service appointments are based solely on merit, provide employees with the training and the tools they need, and protect those who disclose wrongdoing in the workplace.
  • It will balance oversight and flexibility. In this new accountability regime, Canadians and organizations will continue to have easy access to public-office holders and government services. Furthermore, the Government will remove barriers and rules that inhibit the effectiveness of the public service rather than promote good management.

As a final measure, the Government of Canada remains committed to ratifying the United Nations Convention Against Corruption as soon as possible. This Convention is the first global treaty of its kind, and is expected to become the most important and widely applied international instrument to fight all forms of corruption, particularly as they affect the developing world. Canada has played an active role in developing the Convention, and is in an excellent position to promote compliance with the accountability and transparency measures it contains.

Above all, the measures detailed in this Action Plan will promote a culture of accountability in government. They will help restore public confidence in government, and will deliver the honest government that Canadians expect and deserve. As it proceeds, the Government will work with parliamentarians, the public service, Agents and Officers of Parliament, and Canadians to implement this Action Plan.

Return to footnote reference 1. This process will apply to the Auditor General, Information Commissioner, Privacy Commissioner, Commissioner of Official Languages, Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and Commissioner of Lobbying.

Return to footnote reference 2. The appointment of the Chief Electoral Officer is made by resolution of the House of Commons only.

Return to footnote reference 3. Exemptions under the Access to Information Act related to issues such as national security and
federal/provincial affairs will continue to apply.

Return to footnote reference 4. Exemptions and exclusions under the Access to Information Act related to issues such as national security and federal/provincial affairs will continue to apply.

Return to footnote reference 5. This authority would not extend to transfers or transfer payments to other governments or international organizations, or to recipients that have received, in total, less than $1 million over any five consecutive fiscal years. Other governments and international organizations—including foreign governments, provinces, local, regional, and municipal governments, and self-governing First Nations—will therefore be exempted from these audits.

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