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Greenbelt Council Terms of Reference

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Introduction
Mandate
Objective
Membership and Timing
Ministry's Role in Providing Administrative Support
Accountability Relationships
Ethical Framework and Conflict of Interest Provisions
Confidentiality
Schedule "A": Statutes of Particular Application
Schedule "B": Applicable Directives, Policies and Guidelines

These Terms of Reference have been established as required by the January 2018 Agencies & Appointments Directive, and replace the Memorandum of Understanding for the Greenbelt Council established in 2011 and affirmed by letter in 2016.

Introducation

The Greenbelt Plan, the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and the Niagara Escarpment Plan are four provincial land use plans that work together to manage growth, build complete communities, curb sprawl and protect the natural environment. These plans support agriculture and promote economic development in Ontario’s Greater Golden Horseshoe.

As Canada’s largest economic engine, the Greater Golden Horseshoe is also one of the fastest growing regions in North America. It contains some of Canada’s best farmland, valuable water resources, and world-renowned natural features like the Niagara Escarpment.

The land use plans work together to help ensure strong environmental protections are in place while growth to the region is appropriately managed. The achievement of the objectives of the Greenbelt Plan is strongly dependent on the effective implementation of the other land use plans.  

Authority

The Greenbelt Council is constituted under the authority of s. 15 of the Greenbelt Act, 2005. The Council is prescribed as a “Public body” and a “Commission public body” under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA). The Council is classified as an Advisory Agency under the Agencies & Appointments Directive. Consistent with the Greenbelt Act, 2005 and the Agencies & Appointments Directive, these Terms of Reference further define the powers, activities, duties and responsibilities of the Council.

Definitions

In these Terms of Reference,

“Council” means the Greenbelt Council

“Chair” means the Chair of the Greenbelt Council

“Deputy Minister” means the Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs

“GBA” means the Greenbelt Act, 2005

“MBC” means Management Board of Cabinet

“Minister” means the Minister of Municipal Affairs

“Ministry” means the Ministry of Municipal Affairs

“Plan” means the Greenbelt Plan

“TOR” means Terms of Reference

“TB” means the Treasury Board

Mandate

The mandate of the Council includes:

(a) providing advice to the Minister in writing, from time to time, either initiated by the Council or on the request of the Minister, on:

i. land-use planning within and adjacent to the area defined as the Greenbelt by the Plan

ii. any matters pertaining to the GBA or the Plan, as set out in s. 15(3) of the GBA, including education and outreach to promote the goals of the Plan

iii. possible regulations to the GBA

iv. recurring policy or legislative issues that impact the implementation of the Plan

v. the implementation of the Growth Plan and the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, including performance measures, the 10-year review, land-use planning and public education and outreach, in order to ensure the objectives of the Greenbelt Plan are met, and

vi. any other such functions as may be specified by the Minister

(b) providing advice on the establishment of performance measures to track the effectiveness of the Plan in achieving its goals, receiving progress updates from Ministry staff regarding the development of performance measures, and providing input to Ministry staff to refine the framework and draft performance measures

(c) providing advice when consulted by the Minister on any proposed amendments to the Plan and on the 10-year review of the Plan

(d) providing advice on general policy matters arising from the Greenbelt that are not: 

i. matters being considered or may be scheduled to be considered by other bodies (e.g. tribunals, courts, etc.), or 

ii. site-specific issues pertaining to the GBA, or the Plan policies and mapping

(e) co-ordinating with other greenbelt organizations, including the Niagara Escarpment Commission (“NEC”), Oak Ridges Moraine (“ORM”) Foundation, and Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, and with other municipal, conservation authority, and stakeholder programs and activities related to the implementation of the Plan (this may include endeavoring to facilitate the effective co-ordination of these activities through recommending cross-appointments with the NEC, an organization representing the ORM community, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, and the Municipal Leaders for the Greenbelt), and

(f) subject to the legislation listed in Schedule A to these TOR and all other applicable legislation, such other matters as may be assigned to the Council by the Minister which are within the Council’s statutory mandate

Objective

The Council is a key part of the government’s approach to Greenbelt protection, to permanently protect greenspace across the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The objective of the Council is to perform duties in accordance with its legal mandate and to play a meaningful role in the delivery of the policies and programs of the government.

Deliverables are as set out in the mandate of these TOR. 

Membership and Timing

Appointments

Pursuant to s. 15(2) of the GBA, the Minister may appoint one or more members to the Council. Appointments are made by Minister’s letter. Subject to the Agencies & Appointments Directive, the length of term of appointments is to be determined by the Minister. 

The Minister may appoint one member of the Council as the Chair. The Council may designate one member of the Council to serve as Vice-Chair.

Members of the Council shall be drawn from various sectors or individuals that support the objectives of the Greenbelt. Members of the Council may be cross-appointed with members of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the NEC and other organizations representing the interests of the ORM community, and conservation authorities that work in support of the Greenbelt.  

Effective Date

These TOR are effective as of the date they are signed by both parties. 

Ministry's Role in Providing Administrative Support

To enable the Council to fulfill its mandate, the Ministry shall provide services and staff support to the Council, as required. Services and staff resources are to be provided for, but not limited to, the following activities.

Administrative Support and other Ministry Functions

Providing administrative support to the Council, as necessary. This includes:

  • co-ordinating resource support (e.g. bringing in stakeholders, experts, Ministry staff for presentations and discussions on initiatives; circulating resource material; producing research and analysis)
  • co-ordinating the provincial staff resources of other Ministries that may be required for the Council meetings
  • developing the policy themes for and managing events that would be co-hosted with the Minister
  • tracking and assisting with responses to correspondence received by the Council
  • assisting in the development of the Council’s work plan
  • working with any consultant and/or ministry staff supporting the Council to assist in the preparation of its independent recommendations and reports to the Minister
  • supporting the Council web pages of the Ministry website, including French translation of material for web posting
  • working with any consultant and/or ministry staff to assist with organizing meeting logistics (e.g. meeting locations, agendas)
  • recording minutes/action items of the meetings
  • maintaining records management; and processing expense claims, in keeping with the Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive, and internal procedures

In order to provide strategic independent input to the Council to enable it to effectively perform its role and meet its mandate, the Minister may:

  • enter into agreement(s) to hire a consultant to support the Council, in accordance with the Procurement Directive

Accountability Relationships

Accountability Relationships

The Minister is accountable to the Legislative Assembly for the Council’s fulfillment of its mandate and its compliance with government policies. The Minister is accountable to MBC for the performance of the Council and its compliance with the government’s operational policies and broad policy directions.

The Chair is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Council in fulfilling its mandate, and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned to the Chair by these TOR, the applicable legislation listed in Schedule A to these TOR and the applicable directives, policies and guidelines listed in Schedule B to these TOR.

The Deputy Minister is accountable to the Minister for the performance of the Ministry in providing administrative support (including staffing and funding) to the Council and for carrying out the roles and responsibilities assigned to the Deputy Minister by these TOR, the applicable legislation listed in Schedule A to these TOR and the applicable directives, policies and guidelines listed in Schedule B to these TOR.

Reporting Relationships

The Council shall report to the Minister through the Chair.  

The Minister and/or Deputy Minister and the Chair shall meet from time to time to discuss current and emerging programs and government policies of significance to the operations of the Council and matters of interest to the Council and the Ministry.

The Chair shall provide information and advice to the Minister or the Deputy Minister, as required by the Minister or Deputy Minister, concerning issues which arise out of the work of the Council, and which may require the attention of the Minister or Deputy Minister, or may give rise to questions in the Legislature.

The Chair shall provide a year-end report of the Council’s activities to the Minister at the end of each calendar year. This report may include:

  • the Council’s advice to the government from the past year
  • implementation of the GBA and Plan
  • the Council’s role in promotion and outreach of the Greenbelt, and
  • changes in the Council membership

Financial Arrangements

Members of the Council will receive remuneration for service in accordance with the Agencies & Appointments Directive, up to a maximum annual amount approved by TB/MBC. Members will be reimbursed by the Ministry for reasonable expenses in accordance with MBC’s Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive and the Agencies & Appointments Directive. The Council shall be liable to pay Harmonized Sales Tax (HST).

Periodic Reviews

Pursuant to the Agencies & Appointments Directive, the Council is subject to a mandate review at least every seven years. The Council may also be subject to a periodic review at the discretion and direction of the Minister. The review may cover such matters relating to the agency that are determined by the Minister and may include the mandate, powers, governance structure and/or operations of the Council. The Minister will consult the Chair as appropriate during any such review. The Chair and the Council will cooperate in any review.

Minister

The Minister shall, as applicable:

  • continue to exercise the powers vested in the Minister by the GBA and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Act
  • review the advice of the Chair on candidates for appointment or re-appointment as members of the Council
  • direct that a review of the Council be conducted as necessary
  • appoint members to the Council and appoint one of the members as Chair of the Council
  • report and respond to TB/MBC on the Council’s performance and compliance with the government’s operational policies and broad policy directions
  • when appropriate, take action or recommend or direct that corrective action be taken in respect of the Council’s mandate or operations
  • inform the Chair of the government’s priorities and broad policy directions for the Council
  • consult with the Chair and others, as appropriate, on broad government policy initiatives and/or when the government is considering regulatory or legislative changes that may impact on the Council’s mandate or functions (recognizing that it is in the interest of the parties to exchange input on policy matters of mutual interest and to identify impacts that could arise from proposed changes in legislation or regulations), and
  • develop and maintain a current TOR for the Council

Deputy Minister

The Deputy Minister shall, as applicable:

  • advise the Minister and Council on the requirements of TB/MBC affecting the Council
  • advise the Minister on meeting assigned Ministerial responsibilities with respect to the Council
  • undertake and co-operate with any review of the Council directed by the Minister
  • monitor the Council on behalf of the Minister, identify issues for resolution and recommend appropriate corrective action to the Minister
  • assist in the development and maintenance of a current TOR for the Council, as directed by the Minister
  • consult with the Chair, as required, on matters of mutual importance, including services provided by the Ministry, Ministry policies and TB/MBC directives
  • meet with the Chair, as needed or directed by the Minister
  • arrange for administrative, and other support to the Council, as specified in these TOR, and
  • ensure that the services provided to the Council are of the same quality as those provided to the Ministry’s own divisions and branches

Council

The Council is accountable to the Minister through the Chair.

The Council shall, as applicable:

  • set its goals, objectives and strategic directions, within its mandate as defined by the GBA and these TOR
  • direct its affairs so as to fulfill its mandate and meet as determined by its members
  • direct the preparation of Council’s written advice and reports in accordance with the requirements of these TOR
  • provide policy advice to government concerning issues within the Council’s mandate
  • comply with the policies and procedures regarding conflict of interest, including political activities, as set out in the PSOA (including the provisions of Ontario Regulation 381/07) and TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives and guidelines
  • comply with all applicable provincial and federal legislation, including the statutes of particular application listed in Schedule A to these TOR
  • comply with the directives, policies and guidelines listed in Schedule B to these TOR, and
  • comply with the confidentiality requirement set out in these TOR

Chair

The Chair of the Council shall, as applicable:

  • keep the Minister informed, in a timely manner, of all issues or planned events that may concern the Ministry in the exercise of the Minister’s responsibilities
  • provide leadership to the Council
  • ensure that members of the Council are informed of their responsibilities under the rules of ethical conduct, including political activity, that govern the Council
  • ensure the Council is aware of and complies with applicable directives, policies and guidelines listed in Schedule B to these TOR
  • carry out effective public communications and relations for the Council as its chief spokesperson, and
  • keep the Minister informed of upcoming appointment vacancies and provide recommendations for appointments or re-appointments

The Chair may delegate such functions as appropriate to the Vice-Chair.

The Chair will ensure that the Council operates in accordance with all directives, policies and guidelines listed in Schedule B to these TOR (including the Agencies & Appointments Directive and the Procurement Directive), unless specifically exempted, as well as applicable Ministry financial and administrative policies and procedures.

Ethical Framework and Conflict of Interest Provisions

Ethical Framework

As an agency of the government, the Council conducts itself 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.

Conflict of Interest Provisions

The Chair of the Council shall, as applicable:

  • record any declared or apparent conflicts of interest of members of the Council and advise the Conflict of Interest Commissioner of these conflicts promptly, and
  • be responsible for informing members of the Council that they must declare any conflict of interest at the earliest opportunity; and record a declaration of any conflict of interest in the minutes and, where appropriate, notify the Minister of the nature of the conflict

Confidentiality

Neither the Chair nor any member appointed to the Council shall use or disclose any confidential information, either during or after the appointment, obtained as a result of the appointment for any purpose unrelated to the duties of the appointment, except if required to do so by law or authorized to do so by the responsible Minister.

Schedule "A"

Statutes of Particular Application

The following statutes of particular application apply to the Council:

  • Greenbelt Act, 2005
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005
  • Financial Administration Act 
  • Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Act
  • Pay Equity Act 
  • Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006

Schedule “B”

Applicable Directives, Policies and Guidelines

All relevant TB/MBC and Ministry of Finance directives, policies and guidelines apply to the Council, including:

TB/MBC Directives, Policies and Guidelines

  • Advertising Content Directive
  • Agencies & Appointments Directive
  • Indemnification Directive
  • Internal Audit Directive
  • Procurement Directive
  • Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive

Ministry of Finance directives, policies and guidelines

  • Delegation of Authority Key Directive

Public Service Commission directives, policies and guidelines

  • Human Resources directives