Executive Council
December 15, 2006

Transparency and Accountability Act Proclaimed

The Transparency and Accountability Act, proclaimed today, will ensure greater openness and accountability of all government departments and public bodies.

“The Transparency and Accountability Act is a flagship piece of legislation for our government,” said the Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. “This act reflects our commitment to provide the legislative framework for the conduct of fiscal policy, better decision-making processes and most important, strengthened accountability, openness and transparency. We remain committed to ensuring that government is fully accountable to the people who have entrusted us to run the province.”

The act covers strategic planning and annual reporting, financial forecasts, public entity borrowing, and performance-based contracts for senior officials. It requires public release of a wide variety of information so that it is accessible to the people of the province. This legislation applies to all government departments and public entities, with the exception of provincial courts.

“This act builds on the other important initiatives our government has undertaken to ensure greater government accountability to the people of the province,” added the Premier. “This includes our changes to the elections act to ensure for timely by-elections and fixed general election dates, and our new lobbyist legislation ensures that government lobbying is done in an open and transparent manner. These are just some examples of how our government is fulfilling our commitment to openness and transparency.”

There has been a significant amount of work accomplished to bring departments, boards and agencies in line with the provisions of this legislation since it passed in the House of Assembly in December 2004. There continues to be a transition period and a prescribed schedule to ensure that all public bodies are compliant with the legislation by April 1, 2008.

“Departments, boards and agencies have begun to table strategic, business or activity plans,” said Premier Williams. “These plans will contain clearly defined goals, primarily based on public commitments made by government. This process ensures that departments and public bodies are focused on fulfilling those commitments.”

While the work of some departments and agencies directly affect the public, others are focused on internal operations. The planning process was developed with this in mind. The type of plan developed will depend on the categorization assigned to the entity. Categorization is based on characteristics such as mandate, level of resources, organizational structure, and program delivery practices. These changes have been designed to balance true achievability with strategic thinking.

The progress on these plans will be measured and reported on through the annual reporting process to the House of Assembly.

The Transparency and Accountability Act will be officially proclaimed and Gazetted on Friday, December 15, 2006.

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Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
709-729-3960, 351-1227
elizabethmatthews@gov.nl.ca

2006 12 15                                            12:00 p.m.
 


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