Appointments? We have a problem

  • May 19, 2016

The CBA is eagerly anticipating an engagement with the current government on Governor in Council appointments – in fact, as CBA President Janet Fuhrer said in a recent letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it’s been ready to go for 26 years.

The CBA commissioned Ottawa University law professor Ed Ratushny to look into the problem of GIC appointments. He submitted his report, Task Force on the Independence of Federal Administrative Tribunals and Agencies in Canada, in 1990.

“The Ratushny report identified concerns that the piecemeal approach to federal tribunals, boards, agencies and commissions created ‘too many gaps and too many opportunities for abuse’,” Fuhrer says in the letter.

The report underlined the need for a statute to establish standards of independence for appointments, and made recommendations for reform on issues such as methods of appointment, tenure, remuneration, accountability, budgeting and training.

In February, Trudeau promised to move quickly on establishing a new approach to appointing the more than 1,500 people serving on federalcommissions, boards, Crown corporations, agencies, and tribunals – one where “an open, transparent, and merit-based selection process will support Ministers in making appointment recommendations for positions within their portfolio.”

In her letter, Fuhrer called that an “important first step” but added that the CBA believes the “underlying issues which affect the perceived integrity of GIC appointees” must also be dealt with.

“Sadly, the recommendations of the Ratushny report remain very current,” says Fuhrer.

“We would welcome an opportunity for substantive discussion about approaches that might help to advance not only competence and diversity in GIC appointments, but also independence and impartiality in a sector that has an important bearing on the everyday concerns of Canadians.”

[1] Comments

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  • From: Gerald O. Jewers
  • June 07, 2016
  • 7:09 PM
I agree, We have a similar problem in Manitoba and I refer you to the report of the Manitoba Law Reform Commission#121 Improving Administrative Justice in Manitoba: Starting With The Appointment Process. There is some evidence that the government has taken this to heart because the Auditor General has insisted that the length of existing appointments be reviewed and justified . This has resulted in some being terminated and fresh appointments being made.