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Memorandum of Understanding

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Definitions
  3. Agency and BON Legal Authority and Mandate
  4. Crown Agent Status
  5. Agency Classification
  6. Guiding Principles
  7. Accountability Relationships

The parties to this MOU agree that the accountability relationships are as follows:

8. Conflict of Interest

9. Roles and Responsibilities

10. Recruitment, Orientation and Training of Tribunal Members

11.  Reporting Requirements

12. Communications 

13. Administrative Arrangements

14.  Financial Arrangements

15.  Audit and Review Arrangement

16.  Appointments

17.  Liability and Indemnification

18. Effective Date and Duration and Periodic Review of the MOU.

19. Signatures

Appendix 1: Applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directives

Appendix 2: Communications and Media Protocol

Appendix 3: Administrative and Organizational Support Services

Appendix 4: INDEMNITY

Appendix 5: INDEMNITY

1.Purpose

  1. The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to:
  • Establish the accountability relationships between the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (Agency) and Board of Negotiation (BON) through their Chair.
  • Clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Minister, the Chair, the Deputy Minister.
  • Set out the expectations for the operational, administrative, financial, auditing and reporting arrangements between the Agency and BON and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

2. This MOU does not affect, modify or limit the powers or interfere with the responsibilities of any of its parties as established under any applicable law. In case of a conflict between this MOU and any Act or regulation, the Act or regulation prevails.

2.Definitions

In this MOU:

  • “Agency” means Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal;
  • “BON” means Board of Negotiation;
  • “AAD” means the Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet Agencies & Appointments Directive;
  • “Appointee” means the vice chairs and other members appointed to the Agency and the BON by the Minister or by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, but does not mean an individual appointed by the Agency or the BON as staff;
  • “Chair” means the chair of the Agency and the BON;
  • "Constituting Instruments" means the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M. 16 that established the Agency; and section 172 (5) of the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. E. 19 that established the BON;
  • “Deputy Minister” means the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;
  • “MBC” means Management Board of Cabinet;
  • “Minister” means the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;
  • “Ministry” means the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;
  • “PSOA” means the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 35, Sched. A; and
  • “TB” means Treasury Board.

3.Agency and BON Legal Authority and Mandate

  1. The Agency is established under the authority of section 14 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act. In carrying out its hearing duties, the Agency is subject to the laws of natural justice and follows the requirements under the Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S 22.
  2. Appointees of the Agency are cross-appointed to the BON, which is also classified as an adjudicative Agency, and is established under the authority of section 172(5) of the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. E. 19. The Agency and BON are prescribed as Commission Public Bodies under Ontario Regulation 146/10 made under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006.
  3. The Agency also exercises powers and authority to hear appeals and applications set out under the following Acts:
  • the Drainage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. D. 17;
  • the Agricultural Products Insurance Act 1996, S.O. 1996, c. 17, Sch. C;
  • the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M. 16 (Provides authority to hear appeals under the Farm Products Marketing Act and Milk Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F. 9);
  • the Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993, S.O. 1993, c. 21;
  • the Assessment Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A .31;
  • the Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 16;
  • the Agricultural Tile Drainage Installation Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A. 14;
  • the Animal Health Act, 2009, S.O. 2009, c. 31;
  • the Animals for Research Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. A. 22;
  • the Beef Cattle Marketing Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. B. 5;
  • the Commodity Board Members Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C. 18;
  • the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.E.19; (Sec. 172)
  • the Farm Implements Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. F. 4;
  • the Grains Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. G. 10;
  • the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, S.O. 2001 c. 20;
  • the Livestock and Livestock Products Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L. 20;
  • the Livestock Community Sales Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L. 22; and
  • the Livestock Medicines Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L. 23.

4.The mandate of the Agency is to provide an independent, accessible avenue of appeal on a variety of agricultural issues and have them heard by an impartial and knowledgeable tribunal.

The role of the Agency under the various statutes is as follows:

(i) Under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act, the Agency has the authority to hear appeals of decisions, orders, directions and policies, as well as regulations, made by a local board under the Farm Products Marketing Act and Milk Act. Under the Farm Products Marketing Act and Milk Act, extensive regulatory powers are conferred on local boards by the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission. The Agency provides an impartial appeal mechanism to any person who feels aggrieved by decisions of the local boards or a Director appointed under the Farm Products Marketing Act or the Milk Act. Commission decisions that are not of general application may also be appealed to the Agency. No person can appeal to the Agency from a decision of a local board unless that person has first had a hearing before the local board or the board has not decided the matter within 60 days of the application, or the person and the board have waived their rights in writing. Decisions of a director and certain decisions of the Commission can be appealed directly to the Agency.

(ii)  Under the Drainage Act, the Agency's jurisdiction ranges from adjudicating appeals about the assessment of the cost of the proposed drainage works and allowances for damages that happen during construction, to hearing requests for modifications of drainage works including adjudicating appeals regarding quality of construction and directing a municipal council to proceed with a drainage works after a petition for drainage has been filed. Its powers relate more to the operational or remedial provisions of the Act. In some cases, conditions outlined in the Drainage Act must be satisfied before appeals are filed with the Agency.

(iii) Under the Agricultural Products Insurance Act, 1996, the Agency hears appeals of disputes involving claims made under crop insurance plans and disputes regarding whether an applicant qualifies for a contract of insurance. Before these appeals are made to the Agency, AgriCorp, the agency that issues crop insurance, goes through a mediation process with the insured in an attempt to settle the issues.

(iv) The Farm Registration and Farm Organizations Funding Act, 1993 established a system which provides general farm organizations with a reliable source of funding. Under the Act, farm businesses with a gross farm income of $7,000 or more are required to register and to direct an annual registration fee to a farm organization that is accredited under the Act. Provision is made for exemptions from filing and/or payment on the basis of religious beliefs and convictions. The Agency accredits general farm organizations under the Act and reviews the accreditation every three years. It also determines the eligibility of a francophone farm organization to receive special funding under the Act. The Agency also decides on requests for exemptions from registration and/or payment as required by the Act where individual members of farm businesses object to payment and/or registration because these actions would be in contravention of their genuinely held religious convictions and/or beliefs.

(v) Under the Assessment Act, farmlands are placed in a separate category and are assessed at a rate of 25% or less of the rate for residential properties. The Agency hears referrals from the Assessment Review Board as to whether land should be classed as eligible farmland.

(vi) Under the Farm Implements Act, the Agency decides on issues arising from disputes between farm implement dealers, distributors or purchasers pertaining to farm implements, and hears appeals of decisions of the Director with respect to the licensing of farm equipment dealers and distributors.

(vii) Under the Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002, the Agency may make orders allowing access to an employer property where employees reside, and may put terms and conditions on this access. The Agency may also inquire into complaints alleging a contravention of the Act and may make remedial orders.

(viii) Under the Animal Health Act, 2009, the Agency can hear appeals from decisions of the Chief or Deputy Chief Veterinarian for Ontario or a Director’s review of an inspector’s order or decisions of a Director when acting as an inspector, with respect to quarantine, surveillance zone, destruction or compliance orders related to animal health issues.

(ix) Under the Commodity Board Members Act, the Agency can determine whether a member of a commodity board under the Farm Products Marketing Act or Milk Act should have his or her seat on a board declared vacant, or may disqualify the person from being a member of a board for a period of up to seven years, for contravening the Act, regulations or orders thereunder, or failing to meet the qualifications for being a member of the board.

(x) Under the Beef Cattle Marketing Act, the Agency can hear appeals from decisions of the Director to not include or remove plants where cattle are sold for slaughter for a price calculated on a carcass weight basis from a list of such plants that comply with the Act and regulations.

 (xi) Under several Acts administered by the Ministry, the Agency can hear appeals of licensing decisions. These include the Agricultural Tile Drainage Installation Act, Animals for Research Act, Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001, Grains Act, Livestock Community Sales Act, Livestock and Livestock Products Act, and the Livestock Medicines Act.

  1. The mandate of the BON is to negotiate a settlement of a claim where a contaminant is causing or has caused injury or damage to livestock or to crops, trees or other vegetation. Where a claimant has requested an investigation by the Minister of the Environment and a report is filed, and where the claimant and the person responsible for the injury or damage are not able to reach a settlement of the claim, either may refer the matter to the BON for settlement. Settlements negotiated by the BON are non-binding.

4.Crown Agent Status

  1. The Agency and the BON are not agents of the Crown within the meaning of the Crown Agency Act.

5.Agency Classification

  1. The Agency and the BON are classified as an adjudicative Agency under the AAD.

6.Guiding Principles

The parties agree to the following principles:

  1. The Minister acknowledges that the Agency and the BON exercise powers and performs duties in accordance with its mandate. The Minister acknowledges the need for the Agency and the BON’s adjudicative decisions to be made, and be seen by the public to be made, independently and impartially.
  2. The Minister acknowledges that the Agency and the BON operate at “arm’s length” from government on adjudicative matters.
  3. The Chair acknowledges that accountability is a fundamental principle to be observed in the management, administration and operations of the Agency and the BON. (The Appointees acknowledge that accountability to the government means accountability to the Minister through the Chair.)
  4. As an agency of the government, the Agency and the BON conduct themselves according to the management principles of the Government of Ontario. These principles include ethical behaviour; prudent, efficient, and lawful use of public resources; fairness; high quality service to the public; and openness and transparency to the extent allowed under law.
  5. The Agency, the BON and the Minister agree to avoid duplication of services wherever possible subject to observance of the principle of independence in decision-making, which may in some cases limit or preclude the joint delivery of some services by the Agency, the BON and the Ministry.
  6. As an agency of the Ontario government, the Agency and the BON will comply with the requirements of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; French Language Services Act; Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2001; Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005; Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006; and any other applicable provincial statutes.

7.Accountability Relationships

The parties to this MOU agree that the accountability relationships are as follows:

7.1 Minister

  1. The Minister is accountable to the Legislative Assembly for the Agency and the BON’s fulfillment of their mandates, and compliance with government administrative policies. For these purposes the Minister reports and responds to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Agency and the BON.
  2. The Minister is accountable to the Cabinet for the performance of the Agency and the BON and their compliance with the government’s operational policies and broad policy directions.
  3. The Minister is accountable to TB/MBC of Cabinet for the Agency and the BON’s compliance with applicable TB/MBC directives and operational policies.

7.2 Chair

  1. The Chair is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Agency and the BON in fulfilling their mandates, and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned to the Chair by all applicable legislation, this MOU, and applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives.

7.3 Appointees

  1.  The Appointees are accountable to the Minister, through the Chair.

7.4 Deputy Minister

  1. The Deputy Minister is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Ministry in providing administrative and organizational support to the Agency and the BON and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned by the Minister, by TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and this MOU.

7.5 Ministry Lead

  1.  The Ministry Lead (Director, Business Services Branch, Research and Corporate Services Division) is accountable to the Deputy Minister, through the Chief Administrative Officer/Assistant Deputy Minister, Research and Corporate Services Division for ensuring the Ministry provides administrative, financial and support services to the Agency and the BON as specified in this MOU.

7.6 Ministry Liaison

  1. The Ministry Liaison (Manager, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal Support Services Unit, Business Services Branch, Research and Corporate Services Division) is accountable to the Ministry Lead (Director, Business Services Branch) for coordinating the delivery of administrative, financial and support services to the Agency and the BON as specified in this MOU.

8.Conflict of Interest

  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that Appointees of the Agency and the BON are informed of the conflict of interest rules to which they are subject, including the rules on political activities that are set out in Ontario Regulation 377/07 under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006.

9.Roles and Responsibilities

The parties to this MOU agree to the roles and responsibilities as follows:

9.1 Minister

The Minister is accountable to Cabinet and to the Legislative Assembly for:

  1. Reporting and responding to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Agency and the BON.
  2. Attesting, reporting and responding to TB/MBC on the Agency and the BON’s performance, compliance with applicable TB/MBC directives, the government’s operational policies and policy directions and this MOU.
  3. Where required, recommending to TB/MBC the merger, any change to the Agency and/or the BON’s mandate or dissolution of the Agency and/or the BON.
  4. Recommending to TB/MBC the powers to be given to, or revoked from, the Agency and/or the BON when a change to the mandate of the Agency and/or the BON is being proposed.
  5. Determining at any time the need for a review or audit of the Agency and/or the BON and recommending to TB/MBC any changes to the governance or administration of the Agency and/or the BON resulting from the review.
  6. Taking action or directing that corrective action be taken with respect to the Agency and/or the BON’s administration or operations.
  7. Receiving the Agency and the BON’s annual report and ensuring that the annual report is made available to the public after tabling it in the Legislative Assembly.
  8. Informing the Chair of the government’s priorities and broad policy directions for the Agency and/or the BON.
  9. Meeting with the Chair if the Minister requires.
  10. Consulting, as appropriate, with the Chair on significant new directions or when the government is considering regulatory or legislative changes for the Agency and/or the BON.
  11. Developing the Agency and the BON’s MOU with the Chair and signing it into effect after it has been signed by the Chair.
  12. Reviewing and approving the Agency and the BON’s annual business plan.
  13. Directing the Chair to undertake reviews of the Agency and/or the BON on a periodic basis, and making recommendations to TB/MBC as may be required after such reviews are completed.
  14. Reviewing the advice or recommendation of the Chair on candidates for appointment or re-appointment to the Agency and the BON.
  15. To approve and sign the MOU for the Agency and the BON.

The Minister may delegate any legal authority that has been granted to the Minister as the Minister deems appropriate.

9.2 Chair

The Chair is responsible for:

  1. Setting the goals, objectives, and strategic directions for the Agency and the BON within their statutory mandates.
  2. Directing the affairs of the Agency and the BON in accordance with their statutory mandates.
  3. Developing performance measures and targets for the Agency and the BON.
  4. Approving the Agency and the BON’s annual business plan for submission to the Minister.
  5. Ensuring that public funds are used for the purpose intended with integrity and honesty.
  6. Directing that corrective action relating to the operations of the Agency and/or the BON be taken, if needed.
  7. Making decisions consistent with the business plan approved for the Agency and/or the BON.
  8. Reviewing and approving the Agency and the BON’s annual report for submission to the Minister in a manner timely enough to allow the Minister to meet the requirements for tabling of the report in the Legislative Assembly.
  9. Providing leadership to the Agency and the BON as well as monitoring the performance of the Agency and the BON.
  10. Ensuring the implementation of actions that support the goals, objectives, and strategic direction of the Agency and/or the BON.
  11. Seeking strategic policy direction for the Agency and/or the BON from the Minister.
  12. Ensuring timely communications with the Minister regarding any issues or events that may concern, or may reasonably be expected to concern the Minister in the exercise of his/her responsibilities relating to the Agency and/or the BON.
  13. Consulting with the Minister in advance regarding any activity which may have an impact on the government and Ministry’s policies, directives or procedures or on the Agency and/or the BON’s mandate, powers or responsibilities as set out in the Agency and/or the BON’s constituting instrument.
  14. Reporting to the Minister as requested on the Agency and/or the BON’s activities within agreed upon timelines.
  15. Ensuring that the Agency and the BON operates within its approved budget allocation in fulfilling its mandate.
  16. Developing the Agency and the BON’s MOU with the Minister and signing it on behalf of the Agency and BON.
  17. Reviewing and approving the Agency and the BON’s business plan, budget, annual report and financial reports, and submitting them to the Minister in accordance with the time lines specified in the applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, and this MOU.
  18. Providing both the Minister and the Minister of Finance with a copy of every audit report, a copy of the Agency and the BON’s response to each report, and any recommendations in the report.
  19. Advising the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations.
  20. Ensuring that Appointees are informed of their responsibilities under the PSOA with regard to the rules of ethical conduct (Part III of the PSOA), including the political activity rules (Part IV of the PSOA).
  21. Recording any declared or apparent conflicts of interest and advising the Conflict of Interest Commissioner (COIC) of these conflicts promptly.
  22. Making sure that appropriate management systems are in place (financial, information technology, human resource) for the effective administration of the Agency and/or the BON.
  23. Making sure that an appropriate framework is in place for Agency and/or the BON’s Appointees to receive adequate orientation and training.
  24. Providing direction to Ministry staff assigned to the Agency and/or the BON as necessary in carrying out their administrative duties for the Agency and the BON.
  25. Making sure that Ministry staff assigned to the Agency and the BON are aware of and comply with applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives.
  26. Making sure a process for responding to and resolving complaints from the public and Agency and/or BON clients is in place.
  27. Carrying out effective public communications and relations for the Agency and the BON as their chief spokesperson (i.e. media protocol – appendix 2).
  28. Cooperating with any review or audit of the Agency and/or the BON directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
  29. Implementing administrative policies for Appointees to the Agency and the BON concerning:
    1. A code of conduct or conflict of interest framework
    2. Post-service conduct (lobbying, appearing before the Agency and/or the BON, etc.) including time periods for restrictions.
  30. Keeping the Minister informed of upcoming appointment vacancies and provide recommendations for appointments or re-appointments to the Agency and/or the BON.

9.3 Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister is responsible for:

  1. Advising and assisting the Minister regarding the Minister’s responsibilities for the Agency and the BON.
  2. Advising the Minister on the requirements of the AAD, the Government Appointees Directive and other directives that apply to the Agency and the BON.
  3. Recommending to the Minister, as may be necessary, the evaluation or review, including a risk-based review, of the Agency and the BON or any of its programs, or changes to the management framework or operations of the Agency and/or the BON.
  4. Facilitating regular briefings and consultations between the Chair and Minister, and between Ministry staff assigned to the Agency and the BON.
  5. Attesting to TB/MBC as required, to the Agency and the BON’s compliance with the mandatory accountability requirements set out in the AAD.
  6. Ensuring, where appropriate, that the Ministry and the Agency and/or the BON has the capacity and systems in place for on-going risk-based management, including appropriate oversight of the Agency and the BON.
  7. Ensuring, where appropriate, that the Agency and/or the BON has an appropriate risk management framework and a risk management plan in place for managing risks that the Agency and/or the BON may encounter in meeting its program or service delivery objectives.
  8. Undertaking, where appropriate, timely risk-based reviews of the Agency and/or the BON, its management or operations, as may be directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
  9. Establishing a framework for reviewing and assessing the Agency and the BON’s business plans and other reports.
  10. Supporting the Minister in reviewing the performance targets, measures and results of the Agency and/or the BON.
  11. Advising the Minister on documents submitted by the Agency and/or the BON to the Minister for review or approval, or both.
  12. Submitting to the Minister as part of the annual business planning process a risk assessment and management plan for each risk category.
  13. Undertaking reviews of the Agency and/or the BON as may be directed by the Minister.
  14. Cooperating with any review of the Agency and/or the BON as directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.
  15. Monitoring the Agency and/or the BON on behalf of the Minister while respecting the Agency and the BON's authority, identifying needs for corrective action where warranted, and recommending to the Minister ways of resolving any issues that might arise from time to time.
  16. Negotiating a draft MOU with the Chair of the Agency and the BON, as directed by the Minister.
  17. Consulting with the Agency and/or the BON’s Chair, as needed, on matters of mutual importance including services provided by the Ministry and compliance with TB/MBC directives and Ministry policies.
  18. Meeting with the Chair of the Agency and/or the BON as needed or as directed by the Minister.
  19. Arranging for administrative, financial and other support to the Agency and/or the BON as specified in this MOU.
  20. Informing the Chair, in writing, of new government directives and any exceptions to or exemptions in whole or in part from TB/MBC directives or Ministry administrative policies.
  21. When required, submitting a report to the secretaries of TB/MBC on the wind-down of the Agency and/or the BON (immediately following the disposition of any assets), the completion of any outstanding responsibilities by the Agency and/or the BON, and the termination of any appointments.

The Deputy Minister may delegate any of the powers and duties assigned to the Deputy Minister that the Deputy Minister deems appropriate.

9.4  Ministry Lead

The Ministry Lead is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring the Agency and the BON operate in accordance with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, accepted business and financial practices, and this MOU.

9.5 Ministry Liaison

The Ministry Liaison is responsible for:

  1. Managing the day-to-day delivery of administrative, financial and support services to the Agency and/or the BON in accordance with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, accepted business and financial practices, and this MOU.
  2. Advising the Chair and Agency and/or the BON’s staff on the requirements of and compliance with the AAD (i.e. MOU, Annual Report, Business Plan) as well as other TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and policies, and Agency and/or BON’s by-laws and policies.
  3. Applying policies and procedures so that public funds are used with integrity and honesty.
  4. Providing leadership and management to the Ministry staff assigned to the Agency and/or the BON, including financial resources management; review and approve claims for per diems and expenses of appointees.
  5. Establishing and applying a financial management framework for the Agency and/or the BON in accordance with applicable Minister of Finance controllership directives, policies and guidelines.
  6. Establishing systems to ensure that the Agency and/or the BON operate within its approved business plan.
  7. Ensuring that the Agency and/or the BON has an appropriate risk management framework and risk management plan in place.
  8. Supporting the Chair when requested in meeting his or her responsibilities.
  9. Keeping the Chair and Agency and/or BON staff informed of matters that may concern the Chair and Agency and/or BON staff in the exercise of their responsibilities.
  10. Seeking support and advice from the Ministry, as appropriate, in the delivery of administrative, financial and support services to the Agency and/or the BON.
  11. Establishing a system for the retention of Agency and/or the BON documents and for making such documents publicly available when appropriate, for complying with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Archives and Recordkeeping Act where applicable.
  12. Undertaking timely risk-based reviews of the Agency and the BON’s management and operations.
  13. Ensuring the media protocol is implemented and the Chair responds to all media inquiries in a timely manner.
  14. Consulting with the Ministry Lead and Chair as needed, on matters of mutual importance, including services provided by the Ministry to the Agency and/or the BON, and on TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and Ministry policies.
  15. Cooperating with a periodic review directed by the Minister or TB/MBC.

10. Recruitment, Orientation and Training of Tribunal Members

10.1 Recruitment

Appointees to the Agency and/or BON will be recruited in accordance with the requirements of the Public Appointments Secretariat and the Public Appointments Processing Guide.

10.2 Orientation

Appointees to the Agency and/or the BON will receive an orientation within 4 months of their appointment covering the following key items:

  • Overview of the Agency and/or the BON
  • Overview of the Agency and/or the BON’s appeal and hearing process
  • Roles and expectations for Appointees to the Agency and/or the BON
  • Roles of Agency and/or BON staff
  • Review of the Agency and/or BON’s Rules of Procedure
  • Review of the Agency and/or the BON’s Code of Conduct
  • Obligations under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 and the role of the Chair as Ethics Executive
  • Requirements under the Travel, Meal and Hospitality and Expenses Directive and how to complete expense claims
  • Accessibility Training
  • Oath of Office

10.3 Training

Appointees to the Agency and the BON will be provided with training which includes the following:

  • Observation at one or more of the Agency and/or the BON’s hearings prior to participation on a hearing panel
  • Attendance at an annual training session covering a range of topics applicable to Appointees to the Agency and/or the BON
  • Mentoring by other Appointees to the Agency and/or the BON
  • Attendance at applicable adjudicator training courses
  • Attendance at decision writing courses, as needed
  • Attendance at other training sessions of value to members
  • Any other training required by government

11.Reporting Requirements

11.1 Business Plan

  1. The Chair will ensure that the Minister is provided annually with the Agency and the BON’s business plan that includes a financial budget covering a minimum of three years from the current fiscal year and a risk management plan, for approval within the timelines established by the Minister for this purpose.
  2. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency and the BON's annual business plan meets the requirements of the AAD.
  3. The Chair will ensure that the business plan includes a risk assessment and risk management plan to assist the Ministry in developing its risk assessment and risk management plan information in accordance with the requirement of the AAD, to assess risks, develop and maintain necessary records and report to TB/MBC.
  4. The Minister will review the Agency and the BON's annual business plan and will promptly advise the Chair whether or not he/she concurs with the directions proposed by the Agency and/or the BON. The Minister may advise the Chair where and in what manner the Agency and the BON’s plans vary from government or Ministry policy or priorities as may be required, and the Agency and/or the BON will revise its plan accordingly.
  5. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency and the BON’s business plan includes a system of performance measures and reporting on the achievement of the objectives set out in the business plan. The system must include performance goals, how they will be achieved, and target results and time frames.
  6. TB/MBC may require the Minister to submit the Agency and/or the BON’s business plan to TB/MBC for review at any time.

11.2 Annual Reports

  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency and the BON’s annual report is submitted to the Minister for tabling in the legislative assembly.
  2. The Chair will submit the annual report to the Minister within 90 days of the Agency and the BON’s fiscal year end.

11.3 Other Reports

The Chair is responsible for:

  1. Ensuring that the reports and documents are submitted for review and approval to the Minister in accordance with the prescribed time lines.
  2. At the request of the Minister or Deputy Minister, supplying specific data and other information that may be required from time-to-time for the purpose of Ministry administration.

12. Communications

The parties to this MOU recognize that the timely exchange of information on the operations and administration of the Agency and/or the BON is essential for the Minister to meet his or her responsibilities for reporting and responding to the Legislative Assembly on the affairs of the Agency and/or the BON.

The parties also recognize that it is essential for the Chair to be kept informed of government initiatives and broad policy directions that may affect the Agency and the BON’s mandate and functions.

The parties, therefore, agree as follows:

  1. The Chair will keep the Minister advised, in a timely manner, of all planned events and issues that concern or can be reasonably expected to concern the Minister in the exercise of his or her responsibilities.
  2. The Minister will consult with the Chair, as appropriate, on broad government policy initiatives or legislation being considered by the government that may impact on the Agency and the BON’s mandate or functions.
  3. The Minister and the Chair will consult with each other on public communications strategies and publications. They will keep each other informed of the results of stakeholder and other public consultations and discussions.
  4. The Minister and the Chair will meet annually, or as requested by either party, to discuss issues relating to the fulfillment of the Agency and the BON’s mandate, management and operations.
  5. The Ministry Liaison will consult with the Chair, as appropriate, to discuss issues relating to the efficient operation of the Agency and/or the BON and the provision of services by the Ministry to the Agency and the BON.
  6. The Agency, the BON and Ministry will adhere to the Communications Protocol set out in Appendix 2 to this MOU.
  7. Inquiries received by the Minister’s office regarding a case in progress at the Agency or the BON must be re-directed to the Agency or the BON without comment. Any response made by the Minister’s office to the inquiring party will indicate that the inquiry has been forwarded to the Agency or the BON (as the case may be) and that the Minister cannot comment on an adjudicative proceeding.

13. Administrative Arrangements

13.1 Applicable Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet and Ministry of Finance Directives

  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency and the BON operate in accordance with all applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, as well as applicable Ministry financial and administrative policies and procedures. Appendix 1 to this MOU provides a list of applicable directives and policies.
  2. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the legal, financial and other interests of the government in intellectual property are protected in any contract that the Agency or the BON may enter into with a third party that involves the creation of intellectual property.

13.2 Administrative and Organizational Support Services

  1. The Deputy Minister is responsible for providing the Agency and the BON with the administrative and organizational support services listed in Appendix 3 to this MOU.
  2. Appendix 3 may be reviewed at any time at the request of either party.
  3. The Deputy Minister will ensure that the support or services provided to the Agency and the BON are of the same quality as those provided to the Ministry’s own divisions and branches.

13.3 Legal Services

  1. The Agency and the BON require legal services. These services are to be provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General unless it is determined for certain cases that outside legal counsel is warranted. In those cases, the Agency or BON will follow the Ministry of the Attorney General’s policy on obtaining outside legal services.

13.4 Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy

    1. The Minister is the head of the Agency and the BON, as identified in Regulation 460 under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

13.5 Records Management

  1. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that a system is in place for the creation, collection, maintenance, and disposal of records.
  2. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency and the BON comply with the TB/MBC Management of Recorded Information Directive.
  3. The Chair is responsible for ensuring that the Agency and the BON comply with the Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 34.

13.6 Client Service

  1. The Chair will ensure that the Agency and the BON deliver their services in accordance with the principles and mandatory requirements, as appropriate, of the OPS Service Directive.
  2. The Agency and the BON must have in place a formal process for responding to complaints about the quality of services received by clients of the Agency and the BON consistent with the government's service quality standards.
  3. The Agency and the BON’s annual business plan will include performance measures and targets for client service and the Agency and the BON's response to complaints.
  4. The Agency and the BON's process for responding to complaints about the quality of services are separate from any statutory provisions about re-consideration, appeals, etc. of the Agency and the BON’s adjudicative decisions.

14. Financial Arrangements

14.1 Funding

  1. When ordered to do so by the Minister of Finance, pursuant to section 16.4 of the Financial Administration Act, the Agency and/or the BON shall pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund any money that the Minister of Finance determines is surplus to its requirements.
  2. Pursuant to section 28 of the Financial Administration Act, neither the Agency nor the BON shall enter into any financial arrangement or commitment, guarantee, indemnity or similar transaction that may increase, directly or indirectly, the indebtedness or contingent liabilities of the Government of Ontario without the written approval of the Minister of Finance. The Minister’s approval is required before seeking MOF’s statutory approval.
  3. The Agency and the BON are funded under the budget of the Ministry and as such do not have their own audited financial statements. The Agency and the BON’s resource requirements are incorporated under the Ministry’s business plan. The budget allocated to the Agency and the BON will continue to be used to deliver on all business priorities.
  4. The Ministry will prepare estimates of the Agency and the BON’s expenditures for inclusion in the Ministry’s Program Review, Renewal and Transformation (PRRT) process.
  5. Financial procedures of the Agency and the BON must be in accordance with TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and guidelines and other applicable government direction.

14.2 Financial Report

  1. The Agency and the BON will submit their salary information to the Ministry of Finance in accordance with the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act.

15. Audit and Review Arrangements

  1. The Agency and the BON are subject to periodic review and value-for-money audit by the Auditor General of Ontario under the Auditor General Act or by the Ontario Internal Audit Division.
  2. The Ontario Internal Audit Division may also carry out an internal audit, if approved to do so by the Ministry’s Audit Committee or by the Corporate Audit Committee.
  3. Regardless of any annual external audit, the Minister may direct that the Agency and/or the BON be audited.
  4. The Agency and/or the BON (as the case may be) will promptly provide a copy of every report from an audit to the Minister and the Minister of Finance. The Agency and/or the BON (as the case may be) will also provide a copy of its response to the audit report and any recommendations therein. The Agency and/or the BON (as the case may be) will advise the Minister annually on any outstanding audit recommendations.
  5. The Chair may request an external audit of the financial transactions or management controls of the Agency and/or the BON at the Agency and/or the BON’s expense.

16. Appointments

  1. The Chair is appointed to the Agency by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister pursuant to sections 14(1) (1.1) and 14(2) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act.
  2. The Appointees of the Agency are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister pursuant to sections 14(1) (1.1) and 14(2) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act.
  3. The Chair is appointed to the BON by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister pursuant to section 172(5) of the Environmental Protection Act.
  4. The Appointees of the BON are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Minister pursuant to section 172(5) of the Environmental Protection Act.
  5. The Appointees of the Agency and the BON are remunerated according to the Agencies & Appointments Directive.

17. Liability and Indemnification

Section 6 of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act provides that no action or other proceeding for damages shall be instituted against an appointee or employee of the Agency for any act done in good faith in the execution or intended execution of the person’s duty or for any alleged neglect or default in the execution in good faith of the person’s duty.  The Minister agrees to at all times indemnify and save harmless in the manner set out in Appendix 4 to this MOU the appointees to the Agency and in Appendix 5 to this MOU the appointees to the BON.

18. Effective Date and Duration and Periodic Review of the MOU

18.1 Effective Date of MOU

    1. This MOU becomes effective on the date it is signed by the parties.
    2. This MOU will continue in effect for not more than five years from the effective date, unless it is replaced by a new MOU as a result of a significant change in the Agency or the BON’s mandate, governance structure or powers.
    3. If a new Minister or Chair takes office before this MOU expires, the Minister and Chair must affirm by letter that the MOU will continue in force without a review; or alternatively, they may agree to revise it. A copy of the letter of affirmation between the Minister and Chair must be provided to the Secretary, Management Board of Cabinet within six months of the new party or parties commencement.
    4. Without affecting the effective date of this MOU, either the Minister or Chair may initiate a review of this MOU by written request to the other.
    5. A full review of this MOU will be conducted prior to its expiry not more than five years following the date it came into effect, or immediately in the event of a significant change to the Agency’s mandate, powers or governance structure as a result of an amendment to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Act.

18.2 Reviews

  1. The Agency and/or the BON may be subject to a review at the discretion and direction of TB/MBC or the Minister. The review may cover such matters relating to the Agency and/or the BON that are determined by TB/MBC or the Minister, and may include the mandate, powers, governance structure and/or operations of the Agency and/or the BON.
  2. The Minister will consult the Chair as appropriate during any such  review.
  3. The Chair will cooperate in any review.

Signatures


Kirk Walstedt, Agency Chair, Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal and Board of Negotiation


Minister, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Appendix 1: Applicable TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance Directive

  1. The following TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, guidelines, and policies apply to the Agency and the BON:
  • Agencies & Appointments Directive
  • Accountability Directive
  • Procurement Directive/Procurement Directive (July 2009) as it applies to Ministry
  • Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive
  • OPS Service Directive
  • Open Data Directive
  • Visual Identity Directive
  1. The Ministry will inform the Agency and the BON of amendments or additions to directives, policies and guidelines that apply to the Agency and/or the BON; however, the Agency and the BON are responsible for complying with all directives, policies and guidelines to which it is subject. 

Appendix 2: Communications and Media Protocol

Definitions

  1. Public communications" means any material that is communicated to the public, either directly or through the media in:
  • Oral form, such as a speech or public presentation
  • Printed form, such as a hardcopy report
  • Electronic form, such as a posting to a website.

2.  A "contentious issue" is a matter that is, or may reasonably be expected to be, of concern to the legislative assembly or the public, or is likely to result in inquiries being directed to the Minister or government. Contentious issues may be raised by:

  • Members of the Legislative Assembly
  • The public
  • Media
  • Stakeholders
  • Service delivery partners.

The Ministry, the Agency and the BON will appoint persons to serve as public communications “leads”.

  • The Ministry lead is Media Spokesperson, Communication Branch.
  • The Agency and the BON’s lead is the Chair.

Media protocol for Agency and BON hearings and related matters. If a media call comes to the Agency or the BON:

  1. Ministry staff assigned to the Agency or the BON shall ascertain if the caller is from the media.
  2. If the caller is from the media, they must be asked to put their inquiry in writing by email to the Appeals Tribunal and BON email account at AFRAAT@ontario.ca. The caller will be asked to include their name, employer name and telephone number. This generic email account is monitored regularly by the Agency and BON.
  3. Ministry staff assigned to the Agency or the BON shall gather information relevant to a response and inform by email the Chair and the Ministry Liaison that they are gathering information to help with a response to the media inquiry.
  4. Ministry staff assigned to the Agency and the BON shall review the request, consult amongst themselves and with legal if required about an appropriate response, and then shall forward to the Chair and the Ministry Liaison a recommended response.
  5. The Chair shall then respond to the email and report to the Ministry Liaison, with a copy being sent to the Appeals Tribunal and BON email account.
  6. The Ministry Liaison shall report to Strategic Communications/Issues Management Unit of Communications Branch.

If a media call comes to Communications Branch staff:

  1. If the media contacts the Ministry’s Strategic Communications/Issues Management Unit of Communications Branch, the caller will be asked to put their request in writing and send it by email to the Appeals Tribunal and BON email account.
  2. The Ministry’s Strategic Communications/Issues Management Unit shall email the Appeals Tribunal and BON email account and copy the Ministry Liaison, to ensure the issue will be addressed appropriately and in a timely manner.
  3. Then steps 3 to 6 would be completed.

Appendix 3: Administrative and Organizational Support Services

The following list includes common examples of support services provided by the Ministry to the Agency and the BON.

  1. Financial administration: pay and benefits administration, accounts payable and technical advice, purchasing, central mail and printing services, and records and form advisory services.
  2. Human resource services: classification, advice and consultation regarding recruitment procedures and staff relations, job description writing, career counselling and staff development, and advice and consultation regarding corporate initiatives such as occupational health and safety.
  3. Corporate educational opportunities and career planning services are available and open to Agency and BON staff.
  4. Information technology and telecommunications services: advice, consultation, and support.
  5. Internal audit: financial compliance, management, human resource and information systems audits, operational reviews, and special investigations as required.
  6. Legal services.
  7. Accommodation: planning, including lease renewals.
  8. Freedom of information program services.
  9. French language services translation and interpretation services.
  10. Business planning.
  11. Performance measurement and program evaluation.
  12. Communications and marketing.

Program Administration

 The Deputy Minister is responsible for ensuring that the Ministry provides the following administrative support services to the Agency and the BON:

  • AFRAA Tribunal Coordinator
  • AFRAA Tribunal Coordinator
  • AFRAA Tribunal Administrative Services Representative (Bilingual)

Appendix 4: INDEMNITY

Appointee of the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal Carrying Out Business as Member of the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal

In consideration of your agreement to be appointed to act as a Member for the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (AFRAAT), the undersigned, Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario as represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (the "Province") hereby agrees, subject to the terms hereof, to indemnify and hold harmless you and your heirs and legal personal representatives against and from any and all legal fees and disbursements and other expenses (an "Expense” or collectively, the "Expenses") which you may sustain or incur in defending any action or other proceeding, whether actual or threatened (a “Claim” or collectively, the “Claims”), against you in connection with your being or having been a Member of the AFRAAT, but this indemnity does not apply with respect to Expenses:

(a)  arising from any circumstances for which coverage is provided under an insurance policy or claims fund to the extent that you are indemnified or covered under such policy or fund; or

(b)  incurred by you in connection with any Claim arising out of circumstances in which you did not act, or omit to act, in good faith in the performance or intended performance of your duties as a Member of the AFRAAT.

In order to be entitled to indemnification hereunder, you must comply with the following terms and conditions:

(i)  if you receive a notice of Claim or Claims, whether actual or threatened, you shall forthwith deliver to the Province (through the Director of Legal Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) a notice setting forth in reasonable detail all available particulars of the Claim;

(ii) you shall agree to be represented by legal counsel chosen by the Province, unless, in the opinion of such legal counsel, there would arise a conflict of interest preventing such legal counsel from representing you, and, where it is such legal counsel's opinion that a conflict of interest prevents their representing you, you will be entitled, subject to the Province's prior written approval, to retain legal counsel of your choice (it being understood that the Province may withhold its approval in relation to any counsel proposed by you who does not agree to retainer terms, including fees, consistent with the policies of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario);

(iii) the Expenses incurred by you shall, at your request, be paid by the Province as may be appropriate to enable you to properly investigate, defend or appeal all Claims, with the understanding that if it is ultimately determined that you are not entitled to be indemnified hereunder, you shall immediately repay such amount(s) so paid, which shall become payable as a debt due to the Crown; and

(iv) you agree to pay to the Province all amounts you receive as a recovery or reimbursement of any Expense which has been previously indemnified by the Province hereunder.

For greater clarity, this indemnity shall apply to Claim(s) that are referable to the period during which you were a Member of the AFRAAT, and of which notice is received by the Province either during the period you are a Member or after you cease to be a Member.

Appendix 5: INDEMNITY

Appointee of the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal Carrying Out Business as Member of the Board of Negotiation

In consideration of your agreement to be appointed to act as a Member of the Board of Negotiation (BON), the undersigned, Her Majesty the Queen in right of Ontario as represented by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (the "Province") hereby agrees, subject to the terms hereof, to indemnify and hold harmless you and your heirs and legal personal representatives against and from any and all losses, costs, damages, expenses and liabilities of whatsoever kind, including amounts paid to settle an action or to satisfy a judgement and including all legal fees and other expenses (a "Claim" or collectively, the "Claims") which you may sustain or incur or become subject to by reason of your being or having been a Member of the BON, but this indemnity does not apply with respect to Claims:

(a)  arising from any circumstances for which coverage is provided under an insurance policy or claims fund to the extent that you are indemnified or covered under such policy or fund;

(b) arising out of circumstances in which you did not act in the performance or intended performance of your duties as a Member of the BON; or

(c) brought about or contributed to by your dishonesty, negligence or wilful misconduct.

In order to be entitled to indemnification hereunder, you must comply with the following terms and conditions:

(i)  if you receive a notice of Claim or Claims, whether actual or threatened, you shall forthwith deliver to the Province (through the Director of Legal Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) a notice setting forth in reasonable detail all available particulars of the Claim;

(ii)  upon the written request of the Province, you shall furnish to the Province copies of all documents and provide any other information relating to the Claim(s) that is in your possession or under your control;

(iii)  you shall take all reasonable steps necessary, in a timely manner, to secure and preserve your rights in respect of the Claim(s) and, to the extent that you have a right to commence a proceeding against another person (whether for damages or indemnification or otherwise) in respect of a matter for which you claim indemnification from the Province hereunder, you shall assign that right to the Province and subrogate the Province to that right to the extent of the amounts paid by the Province or for which the Province is liable hereunder;

(iv) you shall not voluntarily assume any liability in respect of or settle or compromise a Claim or any proceeding relating thereto without obtaining the Province's prior written consent;

(v) the Province shall have the right to participate in or assume control of the negotiation, settlement or defence of the Claim(s) and any proceedings relating thereto or appeal thereof but the Province may not settle any action commenced against you without your written consent;

(vi) if the Province elects to participate in or assume control of the negotiation, settlement or defence of the Claim(s) and any proceedings relating thereto or appeal thereof, you shall cooperate fully with the Province in connection with the same, and you shall agree to be represented by legal counsel chosen by the Province, unless, in the opinion of such legal counsel, there would arise a conflict of interest preventing such legal counsel from representing you, and, where it is such legal counsel's opinion that a conflict of interest prevents their representing you, you will be entitled, subject to the Province's prior written approval, to retain legal counsel of your choice (it being understood that the Province may withhold its approval in relation to any counsel proposed by you who does not agree to retainer terms, including fees, consistent with the policies of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario), and the fees and expenses of your counsel incurred in your representation shall be costs to which this indemnity extends;

(vii) if the Province is not also a party to the Claim, you shall consent to any order or leave that may be required for the Crown to be added as a party or to be allowed to make representations on its own behalf without being a party;

(viii) the expenses incurred by you in investigating, defending or appealing any Claim(s) shall, at your request, be paid by the Province as may be appropriate to enable you to properly investigate, defend or appeal such Claims(s), with the understanding that if it is ultimately determined that you are not entitled to be indemnified hereunder, you shall immediately repay such amount(s) so paid, which shall become payable as a debt due to the Crown; and

(ix)  you agree to pay to the Province all amounts you receive as a recovery or reimbursement of any Claim which has been previously indemnified by the Province hereunder.

For greater clarity, this indemnity shall apply to Claim(s) that are referable to the period during which you were a Member of the BON and of which notice is received by the Province either during the period you are a Member or after you cease to be a Member.