September 23, 2016

The Honourable Liz Sandals

President of the Treasury Board
Treasury Board Secretariat
99 Wellesley Street West
Room 4320, 4th Floor, Whitney Block
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1W3

Dear Minister Sandals:

Welcome to your role as President of the Treasury Board. As we mark the mid-point of our mandate, we have a strong and new Cabinet, and are poised to redouble our efforts to deliver on our top priority — creating jobs and growth. Guided by our balanced plan to build Ontario up for everyone, we will continue to work together to deliver real benefits and more inclusive growth that will help people in their everyday lives.

We embark on this important part of our mandate knowing that our four-part economic plan is working — we are making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, making postsecondary education more affordable and accessible, leading the transition to a low-carbon economy and the fight against climate change, and building retirement security for workers.

Building on our ambitious and activist agenda, and with a focus on implementing our economic plan, we will continue to forge partnerships with businesses, educators, labour, communities, the not-for-profit sector and with all Ontarians to foster economic growth and to make a genuine, positive difference in people’s lives. Collaboration and active listening remain at the heart of the work we undertake on behalf of the people of Ontario — these are values that ensure a common purpose, stimulate positive change and help achieve desired outcomes. With this in mind, I ask that you work closely with your Cabinet colleagues to deliver positive results on initiatives that cut across several ministries, such as our Climate Change Action Plan, Business Growth Initiative, and the Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy. I also ask you to collaborate with the Minister Responsible for Digital Government to drive digital transformation across government and modernize public service delivery.

We have made tangible progress and we have achieved the following key results:

  • Effectively managed the Program Review, Renewal and Transformation process to achieve fiscal targets for the seventh consecutive year.
  • Reached collective agreements with the Association of Management, Administrative and Professional Crown Employees of Ontario, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, including the Correctional Bargaining Unit, that are fair and reasonable to employees and consistent with the province’s fiscal plan.
  • Continued to advance Ontario’s commitment to be the most open, transparent and digitally connected government in Canada by releasing an evidence-based decision-making framework, the Open Data Directive, the Open Dialogue framework to support public engagement and the Transfer Payment Administration Modernization initiative to standardize the grants administration processes.
  • Introduced a requirement for Agency Mandate Letters for board-governed provincial agencies to further enhance governance and accountability.
  • Launched the search for Ontario’s first Chief Digital Officer to help deliver Ontario’s flagship digital government strategy, working with the Minister Responsible for Digital Government.

Your mandate is to focus on strengthening the openness, transparency and accountability of government, working to get the best possible value for money, and improving the services that the people of Ontario rely on. Your specific priorities include:

Achieving Fiscal Targets

  • Continuing to work toward a balanced budget by 2017-18, while supporting citizen-focused services and critical investments in priority areas to enhance public services, support economic growth and a low-carbon economy, and create jobs.
  • Working with the Minister of Finance to ensure the province’s revenues, expenditures and borrowing program are managed effectively. This work will include the implementation of a strategy to achieve fiscal targets to deliver on the balanced budget plan.
  • Leveraging Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) to work collaboratively across government to support evidence-based decision-making, and to identify major short and long-term transformational initiatives focusing on modernizing services, finding savings and improving outcomes for Ontarians.
  • Working closely with the Minister of Infrastructure to support Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet decisions on ministries’ capital allocations and ensure alignment of ministries’ plans with the capital plan.
  • Working closely with ministers to provide advice and support in expenditure management by overseeing implementation of key investments, determining performance expectations and measureable results and by setting targets.

Overseeing Labour Relations and Compensation Including Fair and Reasonable Collective Agreements

  • Providing leadership for collective bargaining in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) and the broader public sector ensuring a consistent and co-ordinated approach to fair negotiated collective agreements that support transformation and government priorities.
  • Establishing the Broader Public Sector Executive Compensation Framework setting out requirements for the management of executive compensation in the broader public sector.

Advancing a More Modern, Open and Digital Government

  • Strengthening Ontario’s efforts to become the most open, transparent and digitally connected government in Canada through the presentation of Ontario’s Action Plan for the Open Government Partnership, and leadership in evidence-based decision-making and behavioural insights.
  • By 2017-18 facilitating the Transfer Payment Administration Modernization project to standardize the grants administration process and help reduce the burden for transfer payment recipients.
  • By 2017-18 enabling the full implementation of a three point plan on Open Information.
  • Further improving Ontario’s agency governance, accountability and transparency through a Provincial Agencies 2.0 multi-year strategy. In 2017, establish clear priorities for agencies, enhance agency risk assessment and reporting, build capacity across the agency sector and provide best practice tools to provincial agency boards.

Renewing the Public Service

  • Building on the OPS Human Resources Plan for 2015-2020 and other transformational initiatives, develop a strategic plan for public service renewal to ensure the OPS workforce has the diversity, skills and leadership capacity required to support innovation and ensuring that compensation is appropriate for all employees.
  • Working with the Minister of Government and Consumer Services and across government to support the implementation of Indigenous cultural competency, anti-racism, accessibility and inclusion training within the OPS.
  • Working across government to implement the province’s action plan to end sexual violence and harassment, including reporting on performance measures in 2016, and reporting on counseling services in 2017.
  • Supporting implementation plans to further accessibility within the OPS, strengthening mental health and ensuring an inclusive workplace.
  • Reviewing work with the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues and the Minister of Finance, and with input and advice from the Women in Business Steering Committee, to support targets for gender inclusion for government and business.

In addition to the priority activities above, I ask that you also deliver results for Ontarians by driving progress in the following areas:

  • Further improve efficiencies and effectiveness of the government’s Information Technology (I&IT) infrastructure, and continue to achieve cost savings with the I&IT baseline and benchmark review.
  • Build on successes in making government more open, transparent and accessible to support citizen engagement and involvement in government decision making, including strengthening transparency and accountability of financial reporting.
  • Continue to work with the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to consider climate change mitigation and adaptation as part of the government decision-making process. This will include both greenhouse gas impact analyses for government policies, legislation and regulations, as well as adaptation considerations for public infrastructure investments and government procurement decisions.

As you know, taking action on the recommendations contained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is a priority for our government. That is why we released The Journey Together, a document that serves as a blueprint for making our government’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples a reality. As we move forward with the implementation of the report, I ask you and your fellow Cabinet members to work together, in co-operation with our Indigenous partners, to help achieve real and measurable change for Indigenous communities.

Having made significant progress over the past year in implementing our community hubs strategy, I encourage you and your Cabinet colleagues to ensure that the Premier’s Special Advisor on Community Hubs and the Community Hubs Secretariat, at the Ministry of Infrastructure, are given the support they need to continue their vital cross-government work aimed at making better use of public properties, encouraging multi-use spaces and helping communities create financially sustainable hub models.

Responsible fiscal management remains an overarching priority for our government — a priority echoed strongly in our 2016 Budget. Thanks to our disciplined approach to the province’s finances over the past two years, we are on track to balance the budget next year, in 2017–18, which will also lower the province’s debt-to-GDP ratio. Yet this is not the moment to rest on our past accomplishments: it is essential that we work collaboratively across every sector of government to support evidence-based decision-making to ensure programs and services are effective, efficient and sustainable, in order to balance the budget by 2017–18, maintain balance in 2018–19, and position the province for longer-term fiscal sustainability.

Marathon runners will tell you that an event’s halfway mark is an opportunity to reflect on progress made — but they will also tell you that it is the ideal moment to concentrate more intently and to move decisively forward. At this halfway mark of this government’s mandate, I encourage you to build on the momentum that we have successfully achieved over the past two years, to work in tandem with your fellow ministers to advance our economic plan and to ensure that Ontario remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.

I look forward to working together with you to build opportunity and prosperity for all Ontarians.


Kathleen Wynne signature

Kathleen Wynne