Principles of Good Governance

Transparent. Efficient. Accountable. Ethical. These are the commitments that the City of Toronto makes to all of its residents. They are underlying principles of good governance. As an early signal of its commitment to accountable and transparent government, City Council established an Auditor General in 2002 and an Integrity Commissioner in 2004.

The Province of Ontario enacted the City of Toronto Act, 2006 which included the requirement to establish an Auditor General, an Integrity Commissioner, an Ombudsman, a Lobbyist Registry and authority to appoint a Lobbyist Registrar. To meet its statutory obligations and round out Toronto’s accountability system, the City established a lobbyist registry and appointed a Lobbyist Registrar in 2007 and an Ombudsman in 2008.

Accountability Officers

Below is a summary of Toronto’s four Accountability Officer’s responsibilities. Each Officer is independent of the administration (i.e. Toronto Public Service), appointed by City Council, produces an annual report, and reports to City Council.

City Council adopted a policy framework for the City’s Accountability Officers, codified in the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 3, which sets out their independence features, powers, responsibilities, and accountability to City Council.

Accountability learning guide brochure

Focus: City Council and administrators.

Mandate: The Auditor General is responsible for assisting City Council in holding itself and its administration accountable for public funds and for the achievement of value for money in City operations including all City divisions, agencies, boards and commissions, and the offices of the Mayor and members of Council. The Auditor General also manages the City’s Fraud and Waste Hotline.

Focus: Members of Council and members of local boards.

Mandate: The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for providing advice, complaint resolution and education to Members of Council and Members of local boards on the application of the City’s Codes of Conduct and other bylaws, policies and legislation governing ethical behaviour.

The City’s Codes of Conduct promote high standards of ethical conduct on the part of all government officials and appointees of local boards. The City’s Codes of Conduct include:

Focus: Promotes and enhances the transparency and integrity of City government decision making through public disclosure of lobbying activities and regulation of lobbyists’ conduct.

Mandate: The Lobbyist Registrar’s responsibilities include the lobbyist registration system, providing advice on the Lobbying By-law (Chapter 140 of the Toronto Municipal Code), investigating and enforcing compliance with the Lobbying By-law and advising City Council on lobbying matters.

Focus: Impartial investigators of the public’s complaints about the administration of city government including its agencies, boards, and commissions.

Mandate: The Ombudsman is responsible for addressing complaints about City services and investigating complaints about administrative unfairness. The Ombudsman works to ensure that services are provided in a fair and equitable manner for all.