CEOs of Ontario’s hospitals, universities ordered to post expenses

By KAREN HOWLETT
Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2010

Chief executive officers of hospitals and universities will be required to post their expenses online in the latest initiative by Ontario’s government to put the public sector on a shorter leash and rein in spending abuses.

The government plans to unveil legislation on Wednesday that would ban hospitals, post-secondary institutions, school boards and other publicly-funded entities from spending taxpayers’ money on lobbyists. The legislation also includes new accountability measures that would require top executives in the public sector to disclose their expenses, according to government sources.

Ontario is following the federal government and other provinces in fighting budget shortfalls by introducing an
era of restraint within the public sector. But Canada’s largest province appears to be in the vanguard, initially with its call for a two-year wage freeze for Ontario’s one million public sector workers and now with its legislation on disclosing expenses.

The legislation is a pre-emptive strike by Premier Dalton McGuinty to put an end to the latest spending controversy dogging his government. New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath revealed earlier this month that at least 14 hospitals across Ontario had hired consultants …

… Mr. McGuinty is now widening the net to capture the broader public sector. The legislation will also include more stringent measures governing expenses and the procurement of goods and services. If hospital
executives do not follow the rules, the legislation would give the government the power to cut their compensation, said a senior government source.

Duncan Sinclair, professor emeritus and former dean of medicine at Queen’s University, who led a restructuring of Ontario’s health care services in the 1990s, said he does not know of any other jurisdiction in Canada that has legislation requiring hospital executives and others to post their expense accounts online.

Executives of hospitals and universities in Ontario already disclose their salaries under rules that capture every public sector worker who earns more than $100,000 a year.

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