January 11, 2016

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier:

I welcome the opportunity to report to you on the commitments made in my mandate letter. I am pleased to say that over the past year we have made much progress on each of these responsibilities, and I would like to provide you with a high-level overview of some of our key achievements.

Achieving our Fiscal Targets

Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) has made significant progress in helping to ensure our government meets its fiscal targets in order to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.

The Public Accounts for 2014-2015 confirmed that Ontario’s deficit is $2.2 billion lower than projected in the 2014 Budget and $0.6 billion lower than the interim projection in the 2015 Budget.

We launched the Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) process, a new evidence-based approach that looks across government at both short- and long-term opportunities to improve program and service outcomes.

The government met our 2014-15 savings target of $250 million through a number of initiatives that identified efficiencies, lowered costs or reduced administrative overhead while protecting the vital services on which people rely.

Through the PRRT process, the 2015 Budget identified a number of opportunities, including:

  • Reducing costs associated with managing under-utilized schools by encouraging school boards to consolidate schools, share space with other boards and foster community partnerships.
  • Better targeting funding through business support programs such as the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.
  • Establishing a new Centre of Excellence for Evidence-Based Decision Making Support to build capacity to assess how programs are performing, using evidence to inform choices and lead change in critical public services.

A recently completed I&IT Baseline and Benchmark review is being leveraged to identify areas to improve productivity and modernize I&IT, and ensure IT expenditures provide value for money and are aligned to government priorities. Groundwork for a digital action plan is underway, including consolidating nine ministry websites on Ontario.ca.

Finally, TBS continues to support the work of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, which is examining how to unlock the value of key government assets to generate better returns and revenues for Ontarians.

Overseeing Labour Relations and Compensation

We continue to work with our Ontario Public Service (OPS) bargaining agents and with Broader Public Sector (BPS) bargaining agents and employers to reach collective agreements that are fair and reasonable to employees, and are consistent with the province’s fiscal plan. Net zero agreements were reached with the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario and with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Central/Unified. Net zero outcomes in bargaining with other partners in the public sector, such as Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens and CUPE education support workers, have also been achieved.

We are working to control the compensation of designated senior executives in the Broader Public Sector by establishing compensation frameworks. In this regard, TBS has initiated work to request compensation information from a number of designated agencies as well as the colleges and universities sector, with others to follow.

As one of the province’s largest employers, the OPS has developed a sexual harassment prevention action plan to raise awareness, enhance prevention and improve supports in the workplace. Our plan supports the Premier’s provincial action plan against sexual violence and harassment. TBS will continue its efforts in partnership with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to strengthen and enhance existing policy and programs, including training initiatives.

Building an Open and Accountable Government and Provincial Agency Accountability, Transparency and Reform

We are making great progress through our Open Government strategy to make government more open, transparent and accessible, including:

  • For the first time, utilizing digital technology to visualize the province’s Public Accounts information in an interactive and easy to understand manner.
  • Through online consultations, directly engaging with the public to develop an Open Data Directive, designed to maximize government data made publicly available.
  • Releasing more than 400 open data sets to date, which have been downloaded more than 200,000 times by the public.
  • Developing and testing a public engagement framework in support of Open Dialogue to bring more voices to the decision-making table.
  • Working with ministries to develop ministry-specific Open Government Plans.

Since 2011, we have dissolved 75 provincial agencies, meeting our commitment to reduce the number of agencies by 30 per cent. Eight provincial agencies were dissolved as a result of the first round of mandate reviews in May 2015. More than 30 mandate reviews are underway across the OPS and further agency dissolutions may be recommended as decisions are made on the basis of those reviews.

Building Modern Infrastructure

TBS, in partnership with the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, is ensuring the prioritization and approval of the government’s infrastructure investments, while living within the government’s fiscal plan.

The 2015 Ontario Fall Economic Statement continues and expands on Ontario’s plan to make an unprecedented investment of more than $134 billion in public infrastructure over 10 years, and the Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act passed last spring would require, upon proclamation, governments to table a long-term infrastructure plan within three years, and subsequent plans at least every five years.

The province also launched consultations for Moving Ontario Forward, which will inform the design of new infrastructure programs and provide a framework to prioritize needs for communities outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Leading the Poverty Reduction Strategy

We are making strategic investments in health, education and housing for the most vulnerable in society through Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. We are rolling out a $50 million Local Poverty Reduction Fund to support evidence-based community approaches to tackling poverty. By measuring success and building evidence, the fund will help government, communities and all of our partners across the social services sector design and deliver more effective programs using proven approaches.

In October 2015, the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness released its final report, including a recommendation to end chronic homelessness in 10 years. The panel’s advice will inform our immediate and long-term actions to help us meet our goal.

I am pleased with the progress to date and look forward to continuing to work together to build Ontario up and to help secure the future for all Ontarians.

Sincerely,

Deb Matthews signature

Deb Matthews
President of the Treasury Board
Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy

Results achieved

Mandate Letter Commitment Progress to Date
Support our government’s efforts to build a dynamic business climate on a foundation of fiscal responsibility
  • We introduced Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) - a new approach to multi-year planning and budgeting. The goal of program review is to ensure that services Ontarians rely on will be there when and where they need them as we balance the budget by 2017-18.
  • It is designed to look at how every dollar across government is spent to inform better choices and improve outcomes.
Work closely with the Minister of Finance, me, in my capacity as Premier, Treasury Board members and other Cabinet members to transform and modernize public sector service delivery while protecting vital public services
  • Led by the President of the Treasury Board, and supported by a sub-committee of Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet, the PRRT is taking an across-government perspective and identifying opportunities to transform programs and services.
  • It is about making smarter, better choices that will enhance Ontario’s prospects for stronger economic growth.
Drive efficiencies and reduce costs to achieve our commitment to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. Reducing the deficit is not only financially prudent — but managing our resources responsibly also demonstrates our government’s commitment to fund the priorities of Ontarians.
  • We are moving forward with opportunities that improve efficiency, reduce overlap across government programs and ensure that government works better for Ontarians.
  • We are reducing costs associated with managing underutilized school space and better targeting funding through programs such as the Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit.
Implementing measures to meet an annual program review savings target, and establishing a Committee of Ministers to find savings in the province’s Budget. You will achieve that target by maintaining or embracing proven approaches to transform the delivery of public services, while reducing costs that are not essential to delivering service.
  • With support of a sub-committee of Treasury Board, the government met its 2014-15 $250 million program review savings target through initiatives that identified efficiencies, lowered costs or reduced administrative overhead without affecting front-line services.
  • The Behavioural Insights Unit is supporting ministries in piloting evidence-based solutions to achieve savings and improve outcomes.
Continuing to work with all ministers to review and, where appropriate, act on the recommendations of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services.
  • PRRT builds on the work of the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (Drummond Commission) to assess program outcomes in an effective, efficient and sustainable way.
  • TBS continues to work with ministries on the implementation of recommendations from the Drummond Commission.
  • By 2014-15, the government was moving forward with over 80 per cent of the recommendations.
Conducting an ongoing review of Information and Information Technology (I&IT) to modernize service delivery and products across all ministries — including ensuring that costs and expenditures provide value for money and are aligned to government priorities. This also includes a strengthened commitment to using digital technology to support efficient business processes and service delivery as we continue to move toward paperless, convenient government services.
  • A recently completed  I&IT Baseline and Benchmark review is being leveraged to identify areas to improve productivity and modernize I&IT, and ensure IT expenditures provide value for money and are aligned to government priorities.
  • Groundwork for a digital action plan is underway, including consolidating nine ministry websites on Ontario.ca in partnership with Cabinet Office.
Oversee the Results-based Planning process, ensuring that Treasury Board decision-making is supported by evidence-based policy and a focus on outcomes.
  • The government introduced PRRT, building on the success of the Results-based Planning process.
  • We established a new Centre of Excellence for Evidence-Based Decision Making Support that will help to build capacity to assess how programs are performing, using evidence to inform choices and lead change in critical public services.
Enhancing the role of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) — under the leadership, support and oversight of the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) — as a top employer that successfully attracts and retains talent, and continually strives to be a diverse workplace that is representative of Ontario’s greatest strength – its people.
  • A new five year OPS human resources plan is underway, addressing workplace culture, leadership and HR practices.
  • Launched a Sexual Harassment Prevention Action Plan to address policy, practice and culture and to align with the provincial plan. It includes a Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention policy and program evaluation.
  • The OPS was among Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2015.
Managing compensation by reaching collective agreements with OPS and broader public service bargaining agents through respectful bargaining processes that adhere to the fiscal plan. You will help ensure that any modest wage increases negotiated are absorbed by employers within Ontario’s existing fiscal plan through efficiency and productivity gains, or other trade-offs, so that service levels continue to meet the public’s needs.
  • Net zero agreements were reached with AMAPCEO, OPSEU Central/Unified, OSSTF, OECTA, AEFO, EFTO and CUPE and with unions at H1, OPG & ONTC.
  • The government continues to work with our OPS bargaining agents and with Broader Public Sector (BPS) bargaining agents to reach agreements that are fair and reasonable to employees and are consistent with the province’s fiscal plan.
Establishing compensation frameworks to control senior executive compensation in the broader public sector (BPS), subject to the passage of the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act.
  • The BPS Executive Compensation Act came into force in March 2015. It allows the government to manage executive compensation in the BPS by establishing compensation frameworks.
  • In April 2015, a directive was issued that sets out the rules for collection of compensation information. In summer/fall, colleges, universities and several agencies received requests for information.
Working to meet our commitment to increase our government’s accountability and transparency to the people of Ontario. Under your leadership, the TBS will work with other ministries, agencies and the broader public sector to implement the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, if passed.
  • The Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014 received Royal Assent on December 11, 2014. The act strengthens political accountability, makes the business of government more transparent and gives Officers of the Legislature more responsibility in their roles. The legislation allows for more oversight over, and accountability of, arm’s length government entities.
Increasing the opportunity for the public, as part of our commitment to open government, to have better access to, learn about and participate in government — and to have their voices as Ontarians heard as we develop policy and undertake planning that affects them. You will lead this effort by working with ministers to develop and advance the Open Government Action Plan, including the ongoing response to the Engagement Team’s recommendations.
  • For the first time, the province is using Open Government principles to present its Public Accounts information online.
  • Posting travel, meal and hospitality expense information of elected officials required in the Legislative Assembly Act, introduced through the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act.
  • We have released more than 400 open data sets to date.
Collaborating with other ministers to strengthen the accountability of classified agencies by improving agency oversight through frequent risk assessments.
  • Through a new Agencies and Appointments Directive, TBS has strengthened ministry and provincial agency requirements to deliver robust risk assessments and frequent reporting to Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet.
Implementing our commitment to require agencies to publicly post governance documents and expense information. To ensure that agencies are functioning well, agency chairs/chief executive officers will be required to attest annually that their organizations are in full compliance with all government directives. In addition, and if passed, the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act will provide the Integrity Commissioner with the authority to review expense claims of appointees and senior executives.
  • As of April 1, 2015, provincial agencies are required to publicly post their key governance documents and expenses.
  • The chairs and/or CEOs of government agencies will need to attest to their compliance with all government directives.
    • A website hub has been enhanced so all government directives and requirements are available in one place for agencies and public bodies.
Working with ministers to review all agency mandates on a regular basis, and to ensure they are aligned with government policy objectives and priorities. For example, you will work to reduce duplication between the functions of the OPS and broader public sector.
  • The government now requires ministries to review the mandates of their provincial agencies at least once every seven years.
  • To date, 16 mandate reviews have been completed and more than 30 mandate reviews are underway.
Continuing to support — as stated in the 2014 Budget — the goal of reducing the number of classified agencies by March 2015 to about 30 per cent less than the 2011 baseline of 246 agencies.
  • Eight provincial agencies were dissolved as a result of the first round of mandate review recommendations to Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet on May 12, 2015. Ontario reached its target of reducing the number of agencies by 30 per cent over the 2011 baseline.
  • The government has dissolved 75 provincial agencies from 2011 levels.
Working closely with the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets to review Ontario’s alcohol and electricity entities.
  • TBS continues to support the work of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Government Assets, which is examining how to get the most out of key government assets to generate better returns and revenues for Ontarians.
Ensuring the prioritization — in partnership with the Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure — and approval of the government’s infrastructure investments while living within the government’s fiscal plan. Public investment in infrastructure is a critical element of our economic plan, which includes more than $130 billion in investment over the next decade in new hospitals, schools, undergraduate campuses, safer roads and public transit. World‐class infrastructure drives economic growth and prosperity, creates jobs and enhances Ontarians' quality of life.
  • The new Infrastructure for Jobs and Prosperity Act requires, upon proclamation, the government to table a long-term infrastructure plan within three years, and subsequent plans at least every five years.
  • The province launched consultations for Moving Ontario Forward outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to inform the design of new infrastructure programs. Since April 2015, over 200 infrastructure projects have been announced.
As President of the Treasury Board, you will appreciate just how important reducing homelessness and poverty are to the province. Homelessness costs Ontario’s economy. Investments in housing can mean savings down the road because people are healthier, more ready for employment, and participating in the community. As we look for ways to make the most of public investments, it becomes clear that human resources are the province’s most valuable asset in overcoming its fiscal challenges. When you leave no one behind, you arrive at a new destination stronger than ever.
  • In January 2015, the government established an Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness to provide advice on how to define and measure homelessness in Ontario. The panel’s final report was released in October 2015 and informs government actions to end homelessness, including a commitment to end chronic homelessness in 10 years.
Strategic decisions about our investments must be informed by our commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our province. Building on our government’s work under the first strategy, I am honoured to appoint you as Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy and I ask that you oversee the implementation of Ontario’s new Poverty Reduction Strategy: Realizing Our Potential.
  • In March 2015, the Ontario government released an Annual Report on the progress of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, highlighting the key achievements in 2014. The next progress report is expected by March 2016.
Your leadership on this file will include working with our community, businesses and not-for-profit partners to achieve better outcomes for Ontarians living in poverty.
  • We worked closely with community and not-for-profit partners to plan and deliver poverty reduction initiatives, including the Local Poverty Reduction Fund.
  • We have developed a plan to seek input from the business sector.
  • Outreach and discussion with Aboriginal partners is currently underway.
Continuing to break the cycle of poverty for children and youth.
  • In July 2015, the government increased the Ontario Child Benefit to $1,336, indexing it to inflation for the first time.
  • We provided more than $1 billion in annual childcare funding.
  • We completed the roll-out of full-day kindergarten in all publicly funded schools, saving families on average $6,500 a year in childcare costs.
Enabling persons to move toward employment and income security.
  • We increased the minimum wage to $11.25 per hour (October 1, 2015) and indexed it to the Ontario Consumer Price Index. We increased the Remote Communities Allowance, providing $50 more per month for individuals and families than the previous allowance, plus an additional $25 per family member.
  • We invested additional $250 million over two years in the Youth Jobs Strategy.
Working toward a long-term goal of ending homelessness in Ontario.
  • In March 2015, the government announced a $587 million investment over two years under the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative, which combines funding from various housing and homelessness programs into a single flexible program. Municipalities can use it to help families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness obtain and retain housing that meets their needs.
Using evidence-based social policy and measuring success.
  • In April 2015, the government announced the Local Poverty Reduction Fund to invest $50 million over six years to support communities with innovative and evidence-based projects to prevent and lift people out of poverty. In 2015, 41 projects across Ontario received funding.
Continuing to call on the federal government to work collaboratively with Ontario to develop and implement solutions that meet the needs of Ontarians.
  • The government continued to call on the federal government to increase collaboration and partnership on a number of poverty-reduction initiatives including housing, child care and benefits for low-income working Ontarians.
Updated: June 01, 2021
Published: January 10, 2016