AMAPCEO Submits Brief to Ontario Government on Amendments to Public Service Act & Whistleblowing

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The Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO) submitted a brief to the Ontario Ministry of Government Services last month in response to an invitation to comment on potential amendments to the Public Service Act.

The Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario (AMAPCEO) submitted a brief to the Ontario Ministry of Government Services last month in response to an invitation to comment on potential amendments to the Public Service Act.

AMAPCEO proposes as part of a revised Act (a) a new Public Service Charter codifying public service values and (b) strong whistleblowing protections for public servants who disclose wrongdoing.

AMAPCEO President Gary Gannage, in a cover letter transmitting the brief, noted that the AMAPCEO comments and recommendations were organized under four major themes:

  •     Ethics and Values
  •     Management Framework and Scope of Application
  •     Whistleblower Protection
  •     Opportunity to Review Other Legislation.

AMAPCEO is the second-largest bargaining agent in the Ontario Public Service, representing over 8,500 professional and supervisory civil servants who work directly for the Government of Ontario in all ministries and in every region of the province. Established in 1992, AMAPCEO has established a strong record of negotiating strong and innovative collective agreements, of adopting a collegial, problem-solving approach to dispute resolution and of advocating for an apolitical professional public service as a critical component in Canada’s system of parliamentary democracy.

AMAPCEO members include policy and financial analysts, auditors, economists, program supervisors, mediators, arbitrators, nursing supervisors, senior scientists and chaplains.

In its brief, entitled “A New Public Service Act for Ontario: AMAPCEO’s Submission to the Public Service Legislation Project”, AMAPCEO argues that the revised Public Service Act (PSA) should include a broad, over-arching statement of OPS values, which we call a Public Service Charter. AMAPCEO’s proposed charter would address a number of principles, including:

  •     AMAPCEO believes the Act should explicitly state that the OPS is an apolitical and non-partisan institution
  •     AMAPCEO believes the Government of Ontario should formally declare its respect for public servants and their role
  •     AMAPCEO believes that public servants provide impartial, objective and frank advice and support to the Government of Ontario
  •     AMAPCEO believes that the public service fulfills a critical role in serving the public interest by providing continuity to successive governments
  •     AMAPCEO believes that public servants should be expected to perform responsibilities under law, with personal integrity, honesty, fairness, discretion, impartiality and objectivity
  •     AMAPCEO believes that public servants should endeavour to ensure the proper effective and efficient administration of public funds and programs
  •     AMAPCEO believes that public servants should be recruited, appointed and promoted according to a process that is based on the principle of merit
  •     AMAPCEO believes that ministers and their personal staff have a duty to give fair consideration and weight to informed and impartial advice from public servants before reaching decisions (as is the case in the United Kingdom)
  •     AMAPCEO believes that ministers and ministerial staff have a duty not to use public servants for partisan political purposes, to uphold the apolitical and nonpartisan role of the OPS and not to ask public servants to act in any way that would conflict with the OPS Charter or any other law.
  •     AMAPCEO believes that deputy ministers and heads of agencies should have explicit responsibility for implementing the OPS Charter.

With regard to whistleblowing, AMAPCEO has argued for a number of years that the existing whistleblowing provisions of the Public Service Act should be proclaimed. (Enacted by the Legislature in 1993, and receiving Royal Assent the same year, the protections have never been implemented by the government.)

AMAPCEO continues to believe that the existing unproclaimed sections of the PSA dealing with whistleblowing represent a strong and thorough process that compares well against other jurisdictions. AMAPCEO recommends only a few procedural changes and measures to improve and update the existing provisions.

For full details, and to read a copy of the AMAPCEO brief, please visit the AMAPCEO website: http://www.amapceo.on.ca.

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Gary Gannage
AMAPCEO
416-595-9000
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