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Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016

For Immediate Release

 

Official Opposition Proposes Series of Bill 1 Amendments to Make

“Independent Appointments Commission” Truly Independent

 

On March 21 in the House of Assembly, Steve Kent, the Official Opposition critic on issues of open government, said the Official Opposition would be advocating for changes to Bill 1 to make the proposed “Independent Appointments Commission” truly independent of political control and more effective.

 

“Without significant changes, the Ball government’s flagship Bill 1 would actually do the opposite of what the Liberals say they are trying to achieve. It would secure the Cabinet’s power to appoint at their own discretion while cloaking their actions in a veil of legitimacy and independence. That would make this entire process a sham,” said Kent. “The Ball Liberals have said they want an appointments process that is independent, so we are going to bring a series of amendments to the Bill to ensure that it is indeed independent. If the Liberals are serious, I expect them to support these amendments.”

 

Below are descriptions of the amendments to the Bill respecting the Independent Appointments Commission (IAC) and the Public Service Commission (PSC).

 

Clause

The Flaw in Bill 1

Our Amendment to Improve Bill 1

2(c) and 6(3)

The Cabinet will choose the five names for the first IAC, and the House will vote

A select committee of the House will choose the five names for the IAC after receiving a recommendation from the PSC using a merit-based process, and the House will vote

6(4)

The Cabinet will choose the IAC chair – the person who would determine which IAC member reviews which appointments

A select committee of the House will select the chair and any replacement chairs

6(7)

The IAC will set its own rules of procedure

A select committee of the House will review the IAC rules of procedure and strengthen them if they are flawed

7(4)

If the House is not sitting, the Cabinet can replace an IAC member

If the House is not sitting, a select committee of the House will replace an IAC member after receiving a recommendation from the PSC using a merit-based process

7(6)

IAC members do not need to take an oath of impartiality

IAC members will be required to take an oath of impartiality

9(2)(b)

For Tier 1 appointments, the Cabinet can bypass the IAC if they deem the circumstances to be urgent or extenuating

A Minister must first announce publicly that the Cabinet is about to bypass the IAC to make an appointment in circumstances it deems to be urgent or extenuating, and that appointment cannot exceed 6 months

10(2)

If the IAC cannot recommend 3 appointees, it must report to Cabinet on its efforts

That report will go to the Speaker for immediate public release

11(2)

The Bill may imply, but does not state, that the PSC can use experts to find candidates for appointments

The PSC will be explicitly empowered to use experts to find qualified candidates

13(1)

When Cabinet bypasses the IAC to make appointments in circumstances they deem to be urgent or extenuating, this must be reported to the House only annually

After the Cabinet makes such an appointment, it must be announced immediately, not just in an annual report. (This links with the 9(2)(b) amendment)

13(3), (4)

The Cabinet might simply ignore the candidates recommended by the IAC or the PSC

Every time a person is appointed who was not recommended by the IAC or the PSC, that fact must be announced immediately and compiled in an annual report to the House

13(5)

In other jurisdictions, there are reviews of the application of the merit principle

The PSC will conduct an annual review of all Tier 1 appointments to determine if the merit principle was respected

15(1)

The Cabinet has the power to remove a body from the IAC review Schedule at its discretion when the House is closed

The Cabinet can add a body to the Schedule when the House is closed, but it cannot remove a body from the Schedule

16

Every five years, a review of the Act goes to Cabinet

Every five years, a review of the Act goes to the Speaker for immediate public release

19(4) re: PSC 21(3)

For Tier 2 appointments, the Cabinet can bypass the PSC if they deem the circumstances to be urgent or extenuating

A Minister must first announce publicly that the Cabinet is about to bypass the IAC to make an appointment in circumstances it deems to be urgent or extenuating, and that appointment cannot exceed 6 months

19(4) re: PSC 21(4)

Again, in other jurisdictions, there are reviews of the application of the merit principle

The PSC will conduct an annual review of all Tier 2 appointments to determine if the merit principle was respected

19(5) and Schedule

30 “Entities” will not be appointed by the IAC, but will go through the PSC

All 30 of these “Entities” will be subject to the IAC’s merit-based recommendations

 

-30-

 

Media Contact: Heather MacLean,

Director of Communications,

Office of the Official Opposition,

(709) 729 6105,

heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

Link to Bill 1: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/business/bills/bill1601.htm

 

Link to the Public Service Commission Act: http://www.assembly.nl.ca/Legislation/sr/statutes/p43.htm

 

Backgrounder

 

The proposed amendments:

 

AMENDMENTS IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE TO AN ACT TO ESTABLISH AN INDEPENDENT APPOINTMENTS COMMISSION AND TO REQUIRE A MERIT-BASED PROCESS FOR VARIOUS APPOINTMENTS, BILL 1

 

Clause 2 Paragraph (c) Amendment:

The Bill is amended at Paragraph (c) of Clause 2 by adding immediately after the word “Act” the words “and also includes any process the Public Service Commission uses to recommend members of the commission”.

Subclause 6(3) Amendment:

Subclause 6(3) is amended by adding immediately after the word “Assembly” the words “and the names on that resolution shall be provided by an all-party select committee of the House of Assembly which shall receive recommendations from the Public Service Commission that are determined on a merit-based process”.

Subclause 6(4) Amendment:

Subclause 6(4) of the Bill is amended by deleting the words “The Lieutenant-Governor in Council” and substituting the words “An all-party select committee of the House of Assembly” and by adding after the word “chairperson” the words “and that select committee shall designate a replacement chairperson in the event that the chairperson’s position becomes vacant”.

Subclause 6(7) Amendment:

Subclause 6(7) of the Bill is deleted and the following is substituted:

“(7) The commission shall keep records of its proceedings and shall propose rules of procedure to the select committee which may amend the proposed rules and shall direct the commission as to the rules of procedure which will apply to the commission.”

Subclause 7(4) Amendment:

Subclause 7(4) is amended by deleting the words “the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint a person to act in his or her place” and substituting the words

“then

(a) the Public Service Commission, using a merit-based process, shall recommend 3 persons to act in place of that commissioner, and

(b) an all-party select committee of the House of Assembly shall receive those recommendations from the Public Service Commission and designate a person to act in place of that commissioner, and

(c) the Lieutenant-Governor in Council shall appoint that person to act in place of that commissioner”.

Clause 7 Amendment:

Clause 7 of the Bill is amended by adding immediately after subclause (5) the following:

“(6) A commissioner shall, when appointed, take an oath that he or she will be impartial in the carrying out of duties under this Act.”

 

Subclause 9(2) Paragraph (b) Amendment:

Paragraph (b) in Subclause 9(2) is amended by adding immediately after the word “circumstances” the words “provided that the minister has first made a public announcement of the proposed appointment and that appointment is not more than 6 months unless the appointment has been confirmed through a merit-based process”.

Subclause 10(2) Amendment:

Subclause 10(2) of the Bill is amended by deleting the words and commas “Lieutenant-Governor in Council or minister, as appropriate,” and substituting the words “Speaker of the House of Assembly” and by adding immediately before the period at the end of the subclause a comma and the following

“and the Speaker shall table a copy of it in the House of Assembly immediately after receiving it if the Assembly is sitting or, if it is not, the Speaker shall give a copy of the report to the Clerk of the House of Assembly and immediately after receipt of that report by the Clerk it shall be considered to have been tabled in the House”.

 

Subclause 11(2) Amendment:

Subclause 11(2) of the Bill is amended by adding immediately after the word “Act” the words “including using persons with expertise in finding suitable candidates for positions in particular fields of employment”.

Subclause 13(1) Amendment:

Clause 13(1) of the Bill is amended by adding immediately before the period at the end of the subclause the following

“and shall give public notice of those appointments immediately after they have been made”.

Clause 13 Amendment:

Clause 13 of the Bill is amended by adding immediately after subclause (2) the following:

“(3) The minister shall report immediately after an appointment is made and annually to the House of Assembly those appointments to entities listed in the Schedule that were not an appointment recommended by the commission.

(4) The minister shall report immediately after an appointment is made and annually to the House of Assembly those appointments included in Schedule C of the Public Service Commission Act that were not an appointment recommended by the Public Service Commission.”

Clause 13 Amendment:

Clause 13 of the Bill is amended by adding immediately after subclause (4) the following:

“(5) The Public Service Commission must conduct an annual review of all appointments to entities and statutory appointments listed in the Schedule to determine if the merit principle was respected and its review shall form a part of the report made under this section.”

 

Subclause 15(1) Amendment:

Subclause 15(1) of the Bill is amended by adding immediately after the word “Schedule” the words “to add an entity or statutory appointment”.

Clause 16 Amendment:

Clause 16 of the Bill is amended by deleting the words “Lieutenant-Governor in Council” and substituting the following:

“Speaker of the House of Assembly who shall table a copy of it in the House of Assembly immediately after receiving it if the Assembly is sitting or, if it is not, the Speaker shall give a copy of the report to the Clerk of the House of Assembly and immediately after receipt of that report by the Clerk it shall be considered to have been tabled in the House”.

Subclause 19(4) Amendment Regarding the proposed subsection 21(3) to the Public Service Commission Act:

Subclause 19(4) of the Bill is amended at the proposed paragraph 21(3) to the Public Service Commission Act by adding immediately after the words “in paragraph (2)(b)” the words “and provided that the minister has first made a public announcement of the proposed appointment and that appointment is not more than 6 months unless the appointment has been confirmed through a merit based process”

Subclause 19(4) Amendment Regarding a proposed subsection 21(4) to the Public Service Commission Act:

Subclause 19(4) of the Bill is amended at the proposed section 21 to the Public Service Commission Act by adding after subsection (3) the following:

“(4) The Public Service Commission must conduct an annual review of all appointments to entities and statutory appointments listed in Schedule C to determine if the merit principle was respected and its review shall form a part of the report made under this section 17.”

Subclause 19(5) Amendment Regarding the proposed Schedule C to the Public Service Commission Act:

Subclause 19(5) of the Bill is amended at the proposed Schedule C by deleting the heading “Entities” and the items under that heading.

Schedule Amendment:

The Schedule to the Bill is amended by adding immediately under the heading “Entities” the following items:

Agreement on Internal Trade Dispute Screener

Agreement on Internal Trade Roster of Panelists

Atlantic Lotto Corporation with respect to provincial representatives

C.A. Pippy Park Golf Course Limited with respect to ministerial appointments

Dental Monitoring Committee

Interprovincial Lottery Corporation Board of Directors with respect to provincial nominees

Municipal Assessment Agency with respect to taxpayer representatives

Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corporation

Newfoundland and Labrador Historic Commemorations Board

Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre Inc. with respect to 6 members and a chairperson appointed by Lieutenant-Governor in Council

Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism Board with respect to a ministerial appointment of a chairperson

Premier's Youth Advisory Committee

Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors

Provincial Advisory Council on Mental Health and Addictions

Provincial Advisory Council on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

Provincial Cancer Control Advisory Committee

Provincial Council of the Rural Secretariat

Provincial Wellness Advisory Council

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Avalon Peninsula

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Burin Peninsula

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Clarenville-Bonavista

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Corner Brook-Rocky Harbour

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Gander-New-Wes-Valley

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Grand Falls-Windsor-Baie Verte-Harbour Breton

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Labrador Region

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - St. Anthony-Port au Choix Region

Regional Council of the Rural Secretariat - Stephenville-Port aux Basques Region

Torngat Joint Fisheries Board with respect to the members appointed by the provincial minister

Torngat Wildlife and Plants Co-Management Board with respect to the members appointed by the provincial minister

URock Volunteer Award Selection Board

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