Not-for-profit Governance Leadership: Creating a Culture of Accessibility

This backgrounder document lays the groundwork for organizations to consider, within their governance activities, to achieve a cultural shift in the implementation of systems to meet the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. The IOG set out to highlight two key considerations to stimulate discussion: -Why is accessibility a governance issue? -What parts of not-for-profit governance work can a Board of Directors use to create a shift in an organization’s culture of accessibility?

Harper’s Accountability Act, ten years on…

Did it clean up government? Or did it merely make public servants more risk averse? Maryantonett Flumian and Karl Salgo When the government of Stephen Harper took office on February 6, 2006, “accountability” defined the spirit of the times. The prime minister renamed his ministerial playbook Accountable Government, and the new government’s first order of business was a promised Federal Accountability Act (FedAA). The government described the Act as its signature legislation, and within a year most of its elements… Read more

Digital Governance: Rethinking the Role of Government in an Era of Disruption

Power & Influence, Spring 2016, pp. 66-68. “Rather than burying their heads in the sand, governments should
the opportunity to provide the leadership that the digital revolution requires.” Governments must recognize that their institutions, bureaucracies and policy frameworks designed for the 19th and 20th centuries are no longer meeting the needs of the 21st. The digital era represents an exponential shift in the pace of social, political and economic transformation. How governments respond to the radical changes brought on by the… Read more

Westminster Meets Digital: Are We Up to the Challenge?

Policy: Canadian Politics and Policy, March-April 2016, pp. 24-25 In Canada as elsewhere, governments are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of social and cultural change – especially change associated with the rise of digital culture and technology. Digital governance may well be the most significant challenge facing governing institutions in the coming years – in a context where information knows no boundaries, power is dispersed and authority and accountability need to be reconceived. Is Canada up to… Read more

So how are those ‘sunny ways’ working out so far?

While the pundits have mostly completed their prognostications regarding the new government’s fortunes in the year ahead, in the area of public governance many challenges still lie in wait for the Trudeau Liberals that could have an impact on the success of their agenda. Our new prime minister has placed a good deal of emphasis on the open and collaborative style that his government plans to pursue — the celebrated “sunny ways”. And while tone in public sector engagement matters,… Read more

Harper’s bid to stack the public service should be blocked — no exceptions

iPolitics recently revealed that the outgoing Harper government made 49 future appointments averaging 81 days between the time of the election and the time the appointment was scheduled to go into effect. While a review of past appointments shows outgoing governments sometimes make appointments that take effect in the days after an election, none came anywhere close to the scale of what Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office did in the final days of his government. Why comment on this story… Read more

Canadians say they want electoral reform. Do they?

Friday’s throne speech was brief by recent standards, but there was still plenty of substance to mull over — not least the priority it gave to democratic reform. If the importance of democratic reform wasn’t already clear enough from the government’s election platform, or from the appointment of Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, it should have been apparent to anyone who read the ministerial mandate letters. From those letters we see that two ministers will split the lion’s share… Read more

Ministers of State are cabinet ministers — if the PM wants them to be

After a review of the Orders in Council published in the aftermath of the swearing-in of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet, some commentators discovered that, in fact, some ministers had been appointed as Ministers of State and concluded that therefore, these were not the “full cabinet ministers” the PM said they were. While it’s true that, in technical terms, some ministers were appointed as Ministers of State under the Ministries and Ministers of State Act, the criticisms were wrong…. Read more

Reading between the lines of the cabinet mandate letters

Maryantonett Flumian is the president of the Institute on Governance and a former long-serving federal deputy minister. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent each of the 30 members of his cabinet a letter, with messages of congratulations, encouragement and exhortation. The letters also contained the ministers’ individual marching orders — the prime minister’s expectations of where they will focus and what they will accomplish, at least in the opening years of their mandate. In this, Trudeau was following the… Read more

What Trudeau’s committees tell us about his government

Maryantonett Flumian is the president of the Institute on Governance and a former long-serving federal deputy minister. Sir John A. Macdonald once listed his profession as “cabinet maker” — a light-hearted recognition of the fact that putting a cabinet together is the defining responsibility of a prime minister. And it’s not just a matter of picking the people who make up a cabinet. Through the configuration of their portfolios and the departments that comprise them, the structure of the House… Read more

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