Chapter 1

An Organizational Story

1.2.1 The human and financial resources of the Commissioner’s Office

The budget of the Commissioner’s Office is less than $900,000 per year. While no comprehensive comparative analysis has been carried out — because of the lack of resources — it is highly likely that the Commissioner’s Office is one of the smallest organizations in the Ontario government. Yet the Commissioner’s Office serves a Francophone population of more than 600,000. As Table 1 shows, the budgets of the Commissioner’s Office have been relatively stable in the last few years, although a 3% cut imposed a couple of years ago, whose effects were felt in this fiscal year, chopped about $28,000 out of the Office’s funding. Though a small amount, that reduction means, for example, one less extensive formal investigation report per year for the Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner can nevertheless take consolation in the fact that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs managed to prevent a further cut in the next fiscal year.

Table 1
Financial Statements of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner by Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Salaries and benefits ($) 207,200 495,800 495,800 523,100 651,400 627,100 627,100
Services, transportation and communications ($) 215,000 265,200 292,200 267,200 267,000 242,000 242,000
Total 422,200 761,000 788,000 790,300 918,400 869,100 869,100

On another point, on September 4, 2007, when the Commissioner took office, he was … all alone, a situation that lasted for the first month. Then two people appointed on an interim basis came in to help him. In February 2008, the members of his permanent staff (four people) started work. It wasn’t until 2011-2012 that an additional budgetary envelope was granted to the Commissioner’s Office to fund a sixth permanent position. So all the investigations, all the reports, the Commissioner’s presentations, the bookkeeping and everything involved in the day-to-day management of an office are carried out by a team of six people. The irony in all this is that the Commissioner’s Office is starting to be touted by the government as a model of effectiveness and efficiency. However, the pace at which the staff are required to work cannot be maintained indefinitely, and any slackening of the pace will have an impact on service to the public.

In any case, there is unlikely to be any improvement in the financial and human resources situation of the Commissioner’s Office, whether it becomes independent or not. The Ontario government is experiencing tough financial times, and all of its ministries and agencies must continue to “do their part” to alleviate the fiscal problems. It’s a fact.

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