Date of Award
Major Research Paper
Master of Public Administration
The expected benefits of transparency in government, such as increased public engagement and trust, are well established. Transparency also enables a better accounting of elected officials by the public, but this accounting depends on having rules in place and someone responsible for enforcing those rules. The Ontario government took steps to provide this for local governments in Ontario when it permitted municipalities to create codes of conduct and to hire a municipal Integrity Commissioner to enforce those codes. However, the ultimate accountability is delivered by the voting public during municipal elections and, in order for this political accountability regime to be effective, it is essential that the public be informed of the activities of Integrity Commissioners so that they can make informed decisions at the ballot box. This research project assesses the online presence of Integrity Commissioners in Ontario’s largest municipalities to answer the question: How transparent are municipal Integrity Commissioners in Ontario? By quantifying the transparency of their activities, the research seeks to establish the extent to which Integrity Commissioners are likely to contribute to the expected benefits of transparency. It is found that the transparency varies widely across municipalities, and as a result the contribution that Integrity Commissioners can be expected to make in their communities remains unclear. Recommendations are made for a standardization of the online
Oudekerk, Kirby, "Watching But Unseen? An Evaluation of the Transparency of the Online Presence of Integrity Commissioners in Ontario" (2021). MPA Major Research Papers. 213.