October 16, 2018

Ensuring Greater Transparency At City Agencies


TORONTO — October 16, 2018: Today, Mayoral Candidate Jennifer Keesmaat committed to changing the way Toronto’s City agencies do business to ensure full transparency in their affairs.

“Some of our agencies have been operating in the dark for too long," said Keesmaat. “It’s time to ensure they are fully accountable so that we can know with confidence that they are operating in the public interest.”

“For example, the deal with Sidewalk Labs was done behind closed doors, without proper public transparency about what Waterfront Toronto and Google were planning to do on our waterfront. There are deep concerns about data privacy and we are still missing key details about Google’s plans, to say nothing of the flawed and troubling process that got us here. It’s unacceptable.”

Keesmaat vowed to review the City’s framework agreements with its agencies, including Waterfront Toronto, Toronto Hydro, the Toronto Transit Commission, and Toronto Community Housing, to assess what changes are necessary to require the same level of transparency mandated for city departments, standing committees, and City Council. Areas for review would include:

  • Protocols for holding public meetings.
  • Disclosure of agreements with consultants and contractors.
  • Transparent “public value reviews” of major projects and expenditures.
  • Required reporting on alignment with City policies.

Lack of transparency has plagued many of these agencies at various times under John Tory’s watch. In 2017, Tory refused to support directing the Auditor General to undertake a transparent “value for money” analysis of the TTC’s plan to build the one-stop Scarborough Subway.

“It’s clear that Mr. Tory finds transparency inconvenient when it runs the danger of contradicting his own political interests," noted Keesmaat. “As Mayor, I’ll stand for creating the transparency needed to serve the public’s best interest.”