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Placement Post: Independent Officer Placements

The Independent Officers of Legislative Assembly have graciously hosted us for our last placement of the year!

Habon and Janine with Elections Ontario

We are thrilled to be working at Elections Ontario, the independent office responsible for the administration of provincial elections and referenda in Ontario. During our placement, we have written reports about Elections Ontario’s cutting-edge electoral technology, welcomed delegates from electoral commissions around the world, shadowed different departments, and observed the behind-the-scenes operations of an election. Every day, we find ourselves in awe of the level of intricacy, organization, and collaboration that goes on at Elections Ontario, and its instrumental role in protecting Ontario’s democracy. Throughout our time at EO, we have also learned more about its trailblazing initiatives in supporting voters with barriers, and newcomer voters. We are also privileged to work alongside two OLIP alumni, Alex Stover and Stephanie Lowe, that have been immensely supportive and generous with their time and guidance. Thank you, Elections Ontario, for warmly hosting us at your office!

Alessia and Iqra with the Financial Accountability Office

Iqra and I are fortunate enough to be working with the amazing and supportive team at the Financial Accountability Office (FAO). There, we have been tasked with researching and beginning the design process of learning modules for new MPPs to introduce them to the world of government, government services and programs, the fiscal cycle, and budgetary matters. We work both independently and collaboratively to provide high-level overviews of the legislature and have learned to take complex information and synthesize it into easy to comprehend, digestible information. Thank you to all the great staff at the FAO for having us!

Melody with the Ombudsman

I am excited to be placed with the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman. As Ontario’s Watchdog, the Ombudsman annually investigates over 1,000 government and public sector organizations and reviews complaints from people across Ontario. I have undergone a great deal of training on the wide range of common issues raised by complainants, how complaints are received and processed by the Office, investigative processes and practices used to guide decision-making. With the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman, I have primarily been working on a major project to update and revise the Open Meetings Guide for Municipalities. In Ontario, municipalities and local boards must keep their meetings and discussions open to the public and follow several rules under the Municipal Act when deciding to hold a closed meeting. If these rules are broken, the Ombudsman may have a role in investigating this. This guide will be available to municipalities to help them decide if a meeting should be open or if the subject matter of the meeting fits within one of the limited exceptions to the rules. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the role of the Ombudsman in Ontario’s public sector and using my own skills and non-partisanship to help the office connect Ontarians with the resources and services they require. Thank you to Joanna Bull and Sherrie Nicholson for supporting my work, as well as all of the wonderful staff at the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman for welcoming me with open arms!

Alex with the Integrity Commissioner

I had the pleasure of working for the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario for my Independent Officer placement. The Integrity Commissioner is an Independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario that strives to foster a culture of integrity among Members of Provincial Parliament, ministers’ staff, and lobbyists. Each year the Integrity Commissioner publishes a report which includes common inquiries related to ethical MPP behavior, and my time with the Office has been spent organizing all the inquiries since 2015 in a database. The finished database will be searchable on the Office’s website, allowing MPPs and their staff to intuitively find answers to a wide range of ethics-related questions. Thank you to Michelle, the Commissioner, and the rest of the Office for a warm welcome!

Tori and Sharika with the Auditor General

We are excited to be placed in the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario. After meeting with Auditor General Lysyk during our OLIP Orientation, we were hoping to learn more about public sector finance and how the Independent Officers hold the government accountable. We also get to work with a former OLIP alum which is a treat. During our placement, we have been helping our team with audit selection by researching different topics for potential audits. The research has allowed us to learn a lot about different parts of the government and broader public sectors and the issues impacting them. We have also gotten familiar with government financials through the analysis of the public accounts and estimates. We would sincerely like to thank the Audit Research Team and our manager Kristy May for the warm welcome and for such a great experience!

Clare with the Information and Privacy Commissioner

I have greatly enjoyed working in the Office of Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, which is responsible for oversight on Ontario’s access to information and privacy laws. During my placement, I have been helping the Policy Team with research on legislative amendments and assisting the Adjudication Team with case research. This experience has given me a greater understanding of how different jurisdictions are dealing with rapidly developing technologies in the private and public sectors. It has been fascinating to take an in-depth look at what privacy commissioners across the country are recommending to ensure that the public can exercise their right to information and that sensitive personal data is adequately protected. I’d like to thank everyone at the IPC, especially Lauren from the Policy Team, for the warm welcome and support!

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