The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

This question is the MISSISSAUGAWATCH Sniff Test for all Ontario municipal Mayors and Councillors:

Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.

MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

McMurtry/Curling, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS -in Search of “accountable” and “accountability”

December 28th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

The Mississauga Muse at the Malton school lockdown

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written four Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of the McMurtry/Curling Executive Summary of The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence.

In this Blog we turn our attention to providing a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of the 468 page McMurtry/Curling’s primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

This MISSISSAUGAWATCH McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS cut-and-paste is viewed through the lens of My Mississauga Experience, and the most important part of the Peel Police Services Board November 17, 1994 (Youth) Community Summit – Final Report —this part,

Recommendation 1:

“A process of accountability and evaluation should be built into programs to ensure achievement of goals and cost-effectiveness.

My task was simple. I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “accounta”.

“accounta” would help me find all instances of the word “accountable” and “accountability” —a construct that MISSISSAUGAWATCH has documented as completely (yes, completely) lacking in all (yes, all) City of Mississauga youth-related initiatives currently under investigation.

To reiterate, this McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS cut-and-paste is not complete. I have knifed through the document word-searching for “accountable” and “accountability” and also included the sentence before and after to provide context.

This “accountable” and “accountability” is also a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

(Word Search “accounta“) Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS


WORD SEARCH: “accounta” “accountable” and “accountability” in RED. (Note: “into account” and “to account” not included in this summary)


Chapter 10: Accountability, Planning, Advice, Recommendationsand a Road Map for Ontario.

Reporting and Accountability………………………………………………………………70  iv

We believe that part of the reason for the lack of action on so many excellent reports lies in their authors’ providing specific recommendations to address all of the many wrongs and good ideas they heard. While understandable, this tends to leave the government receiving the report with a hugely complicated array of options to assess and prioritize, or sometimes just a shopping list to choose from.

At the same time, many reports did not include a governance structure or accountability framework to guide the implementation of their recommendations. It seems that the absence of a clear roadmap to show how a focused and cohesive reform agenda could flow from their report contributed to the advice of some of the previous authors falling by the wayside. With governments constantly pressed to deal with numerous complex issues across the range of their mandates, the lack of attention to the “how” in addition to the “what” can lead to a report being lost within internal committees, which have no clear advice on a structure to pull together the needed work.    p. 106

For these reasons, we proceeded differently. We, of necessity, cover a lot of ground and provide much advice to the Premier, but believe that our report will be of greatest value if it focuses its recommendations on broad and sustainable long-term change and presents a viable governance structure and accountability framework to drive that change. We believe that is the best way to advance our advice and keep the faith with those who have contributed their valuable time and ideas to our review.    p. 107

1. Reports Addressing Racism and Discrimination

Canadian Bar Association (1993). Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality. Toronto: Canadian Bar Association.    p. 108

The Nova Scotia report Our Kids Are Worth It (Nova Scotia, 2007) notes that young people must have a voice and be involved in the planning, delivery and evaluation of programs and services affecting them. “Engage Youth, Promote Shared Accountability” is one of the key directions of this strategy.    p. 139

Youth Justice Committees

Youth justice committees may become involved when a young person, aged 12-17, is alleged to have committed a low-risk offence. Police may refer the young person to a committee before, or the Crown may refer after, a charge is laid. The youth must be willing to participate in the program, be aware of his or her rights and options and be prepared to accept accountability.    p. 209

Pillar 1 accordingly sets out both targeted and universal measures to improve the social context across the province in ways that will address the roots of violence involving youth. We proceed in subsequent parts of this chapter to discuss our other three pillars: a policy framework to guide these changes as they apply to youth, a strategy to strengthen and work with communities across the province and a governance structure designed to maintain focus and build collaboration over the long haul. Then, in Chapter 10, we outline an overall accountability structure and a road map for this work.    p. 229

In addition, we believe that Ontario needs to follow Britain’s lead by ensuring that there is a public duty on all public institutions to address racism in a measurable and accountable way. As a starting point, each Ontario ministry and agency with the potential to in any way address racism should be required to produce and publish a plan to do so. These plans must identify clear objectives and timelines and provide a clear, public articulation of how the objectives will be met. This issue has been unaddressed for so long that the publication of detailed plans is essential to generate momentum and to create confidence that meaningful, sustainable change will occur.    p. 239

To understand the phenomenon of disproportionality in the CJS [criminal justice system], it is essential that there is an effective process for collecting and monitoring ethnicity data at each stage of the criminal justice process….[The goal is] to enable CJS practitioners and policy-makers to: identify disproportionality in the CJS; understand the causes of disproportionality; performance manage the CJS in relation to race issues; and demonstrate accountability to Black and minority ethnic communities (Department for Communities and Local Government, 2007: 65).    p. 241

The policies were to address 10 major areas of focus: board policies, guidelines and practices; leadership; school-community partnership; curriculum; student languages; student evaluation, assessment and placement; guidance and counselling; racial and ethnocultural harassment; employment practices; and staff development. For each area of focus, boards were required, for example, to provide a list of resources that identified tools (human and material) needed to achieve the stated objectives, and an indication of the person or persons responsible for carrying out the plan of action to ensure consistent direction during implementation, facilitate monitoring and ensure accountability.    p. 251

(ii) Someone in Charge

The problems that flow from the lack of an overall strategy for youth in Ontario are exacerbated by the fact that no ministry appears to have overall responsibility or accountability for the system or its outcomes. The Attorney General controls prosecution policy and funds an extra-judicial sanctions program through youth justice committees. Local police services, with little or no overall guidance from the Province, have their own policies on how to police youth, when to intervene, and when to do so through criminalization as opposed to warnings or formal extra-judicial measures. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services, in turn, is responsible for funding some of the programs that can be used as alternatives to court proceedings, and thus can limit or encourage the use of alternatives by the police, but only from a distance. And that ministry controls youth corrections and probation, youth protection services and youth mental health services.    p. 170

[The following three paragraphs are included because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes they are relevant to the way the City of Mississauga Community and Corporate Services deals with Youth, as indicated through Freedom of Information.]

This divided and un-aligned jurisdiction can lead to mixed messages within the system, to resources not being allocated where they can do the most good and to the actions of one part of the system undoing the value of investments in other parts of it. One example of the lack of coordination, which makes the point, lies in the fact that about 45 per cent of all youth justice matters brought to the courts are withdrawn or stayed. Those responsible for the system advised us that this figure relates to the number of youth charged, and not simply the total numbers of charges youth face. They told us that it almost always means that the Crown attorneys have determined that these youth can be effectively dealt with through measures operated outside the traditional justice system.

Our point is not that an individual police officer was always wrong to have laid these charges or that the Crown was always right to stay or withdraw them. Rather, it is that with almost half of the youth who are charged being referred out of the courts before the courts have been asked to deal with them, there is an obvious disconnect between two parts of the justice system. Even if the 45-per-cent figure did not mean that this many accused youth have all the charges against them dropped, the problem would be a real one for many youth. A feedback mechanism either does not exist or is being ignored and, more fundamentally, it seems clear that a consistent approach to youth justice is not in place.

In our view, Ontarians are entitled to a youth justice system with shared approaches and outcome goals, and with a consistent approach to its administration. While there are various ways to accomplish this, we think that the depth of the current divide is such that a Youth Justice Advisory Board should be put in place to provide integrated policy and operational advice to the three ministers responsible for youth justice, and to the Cabinet committee we propose be created in Pillar 4.    p. 270-271

e) Best Practices

It is important that any statement of principles for dealing with youth contain core standards for service providers. In our view, these can be quite simply stated and, indeed, have been by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in the context of child and youth mental health. Such services and supports, the ministry says, should be: youth and family-centred; community-driven; accessible; coordinated and collaborative; evidence-based and accountable. To these principles we would simply add one more: youth should be meaningfully involved in the governance structures of bodies serving them to the greatest extent possible (Ministry of Children and Youth Services, 2006: ii).    p. 291

To be meaningful, outcomes must be accompanied by a commitment to measured and relentless progress towards them (published indicators), along with clear timelines and specific accountabilities for meeting those indicators. We will address targeting, measurement and accountability in more detail in Chapter 10. For now, we just want to note that, to be useful in this context, the outcomes and the indicators set for measuring progress towards them should meet three conditions.    p. 294

Streamlining the Funding Process

In terms of simplifying the process by which agencies receive and account for funds, the independent blue-ribbon panel mentioned above started from the premise that the reporting and accountability regime should reflect the actual circumstances and capacities of funding recipients and the real needs of the government. We agree and believe that the goal should be to reduce the reporting burden on community agencies and rationalize reporting requirements across ministries and, to the extent possible, among other funding agencies.    p. 321

4. Core Funding for Community Development

…The resident-engagement funding would provide for outreach workers to undertake the kinds of engagement initiatives discussed in Section 2 above, including facilitating resident participation in community hubs and setting community priorities for their use. The funding for youth-led organizations would allow youth, subject to their accountability to the funding body, to determine their own initiatives, programs and priorities to address the roots agenda, and thus potentially create innovative models for emulation elsewhere.    p. 324

Once funding was provided, it would be for the local board of each entity to determine its annual priorities. There would be clear requirements for financial accountability and working within the “roots agenda,” but program content and priorities would be set at the local level.    p. 325

Although we state this matter baldly, we note that the current government inherited rather than created this situation. Silos have come to characterize most governments in the last three or four decades, for a variety of similar reasons. Prominent among these are the scope and scale of government, the short timelines between elections, the ever-heightened demand for accountability and the understandable need Cabinet ministers see to demonstrate mastery of their own portfolios and to make their mark within their own domains.    p. 328

Even where time can be found for such collaboration, there is little incentive for it. Collaboration is difficult, takes considerable time and resources, and is very much less under an individual minister’s control than work within his or her area of direct responsibility. Visible failures can occur for reasons outside a minister’s control; success, if achieved, is diffusely shared with colleagues. In many cases, success may not attach to those who contributed the most, perhaps at some cost to their success in a portfolio where their accountability is immediate and highly visible. In this context, it is to the government’s credit that it is working in at least some areas to counter these circumstances.    p. 328

Each PSA consists of a vision, performance indicators and the delivery strategy indicating delivery partners, priority actions, and accountability and governance….A lead minister is nominated for each PSA and the relevant Cabinet committee(s) monitors progress, holds departments and programs to account and resolves interdepartmental disputes where they arise. A PSA delivery board of senior officials comprised of all lead and supporting departments is also established which monitors progress and reviews delivery regularly. Each Department remains responsible for developing and meeting its Departmental Strategic Objectives covering the full breadth of its work (Institute On Governance, Volume 4: 438)    p. 342

As outlined in Pillar 3, we base this on our belief that the Province has the ultimate accountability for addressing the roots of violence involving youth, and the responsibility to create a safe province with meaningful opportunity for all. We also believe that it has the powers needed to do so. Acting alone, if necessary, the Province can advance income security, equity, health, education, a more responsive justice system, strong communities and, indeed, most of what is required for sustained progress on all of the issues we have identified in this report as central to addressing the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 344-345

[To] identify the needs of the local community and reconcile competing interests; to oversee and coordinate the community consultation and engagement activitiesof individual partners; to produce a Sustainable Community Strategy including a shared local vision and priorities for action; …to oversee the planning andalignment of resources in the locality — each partner remains accountable for its decision taken in relation to funding streams allocated to it; to review and performance-manage progress against priorities and targets (Institute On Governance, Volume 4: 449).    p. 348

In this chapter, we start by outlining the fundamental need for measurement, accountability and planning to support our proposed approach, then go on to provide our advice and recommendations. We conclude the chapter with some comments indicating how our advice and recommendations can be put into effect.    p. 366

The Need for Indicators to Track Outcome Goals

Once outcome goals and gap-reduction targets are set, the remaining issue is to set annual or sometimes two-to three-year targets for progress towards the goals and targets. This is a political exercise, involving as it does a series of financial commitments, which are more time-specific and for longer terms than governments usually make. Indicators are, however, essential to fine-tuning the strategy and to accountability and maintaining public support.    p. 369

Reporting and Accountability

It is vital that the outcome goals and interim indicators be public and well-communicated. But members of the public cannot be expected to be able to assess progress towards those goals without access to contextual and analytical information on the progress being made and any barriers being encountered.    p. 370

Canadian Bar Association (1993). Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality. Toronto: Canadian Bar Association    p. 386

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations conference examined the manner in which the legal and justice system affects women, Aboriginal peoples and racial minorities, and developed policy recommendations. The report on the conference proceedings noted recommendations regarding immigration, including educating immigration officers about human rights abuses in countries of origin and preventing race-related crime issues from influencing individual immigration decisions. With respect to Charter rights, recommendations included establishing a racial minority, community-based legal clinic to uncover systemic racism through test cases and research. Recommendations regarding the justice system centred on examining courtroom procedures and the discretionary use of power by justice officials; examining police use of force to determine whether it varies by race, gender and socio-economics status; community-specific legal and supplementary services; and enhanced legal protection for Aboriginal and racial minority women. Further recommendations dealt with police accountability and training and jury participation by minorities.    p. 431



The Mississauga Muse



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