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A Risk Lens on Governance – A Public Governance Exchange Discussion Paper

Led by Karl Salgo, the Public Governance Exchange of the Institute on Governance held a workshop on July 3, 2013. The workshop put a risk lens on governance by discussing risk management approaches in the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. Through the examination conducted for this discussion paper, the IOG found two tendencies in public sector risk management practices. First, that governance issues constitute a distinct sphere of risk for public sector organizations, particularly the escalation of enterprise-level risks to the portfolio, government-wide and societal levels. And second, that despite great improvements in public sector risk management practices, the tendency of risk management to focus on the enterprise level means that governance risk may not be recognized and managed as systematically as other risk areas.

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About the Authors

  • Karl Salgo

    Karl Salgo

    Executive Director - Public Governance

    Karl heads the Public Governance Exchange(PGEx), the IOG’s multi-jurisdictional program of applied research and knowledge exchange on public sector governance.

    A career public servant, Karl has degrees in political science, history and law from the University of Toronto and in public administration from the Queen’s University School of Policy Studies.  He worked for many years in the federal Department of Finance, in areas as diverse as tax policy, communications and financial markets.  In the latter capacity, Karl helped to establish the governance framework for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and later served as Chief of Capital Markets Policy.

    From 2004 to 2012, Karl worked in the Privy Council Office’s Machinery of Government Secretariat, where he provided advice to the Clerk of the Privy Council and the Prime Minister on the organization and structure of the Government of Canada – the Cabinet, portfolios, and the creation, winding-up and governance of individual organizations.

    As Director of Strategic Policy from 2007 to 2012, Karl was the secretariat’s lead authority on Crown corporation governance, the conventions of the Westminster system, and the conduct standards applicable to ministers and other senior public office holders.  Karl was the author/editor of numerous PCO publications, including Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Ministers of State and Guidance for Deputy Ministers.  Actively involved in realizing the myriad governance and accountability changes that flowed from the Federal Accountability Act, Karl played a lead role in the design and implementation of the accounting officer mechanism of deputy minister accountability.

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