The Alberta government is ensuring that public agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) remain relevant, with legislation that would dissolve three agencies.
Bill 31, the Agencies, Boards and Commissions Review Statutes Amendment Act, would repeal or amend relevant legislation to allow the dissolution of the Government House Foundation, Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta and Wild Rose Foundation. Those agencies were among 26 agencies, boards and commissions identified for consolidation or dissolution in Budget 2016, an initiative that will save $33 million over three years.
“The work of these three agencies continues within the government or through other means without the need for separate agencies and the related overhead costs. Provincial agencies, boards and commissions play a pivotal role in delivering programs and services to Albertans, which is why we are committed to ensuring they are relevant, transparent, accountable and well-governed.”
The other 23 ABCs identified in Budget 2016 did not require statute amendments and have already been dissolved or amalgamated.
The bill would also enhance administration and governance provisions for some agencies reviewed in the first phase of the ABC review. For example, it would make governance provisions for Human Services’ various appeals panels consistent and would enable a more effective administration process for appeals.
The bill also includes a requirement for dissolved or amalgamated public agencies to disclose compensation if a board member or employee met the disclosure threshold before dissolution. This is in keeping with the government’s commitment to transparency and openness in financial disclosure.
ABC review, next steps
Government is committed to managing the province’s resources in a fiscally responsible manner. Announced in November 2015, the three-phased review of Alberta’s agencies, boards and commissions focuses on identifying what is working, what can be improved and what is no longer providing value to Albertans.
The first phase focused on 135 ABCs subject to the Alberta Public Agency Governance Act (APAGA) (excluding post-secondary institutions). This phase is nearing completion and results are being implemented. Government also recently launched a new, open, online recruitment process to help ensure that appointments to Alberta’s agencies, boards and commissions better reflect the province’s diversity and strengths.
The second phase, set to begin soon, will focus on the 146 agencies not subject to APAGA. The third phase will focus on Alberta public post-secondary institutions and is expected to begin in 2017.