Government of Canada

Government of Canada

April 11, 2007 12:14 ET

Canada's New Government Appoints Independent Advisor to Review Public Opinion Research Practices

Canada's New Government is delivering on its commitment to implement the Federal Accountability Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 11, 2007) - The Honourable Michael M. Fortier, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, and the Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board announced today the appointment of Mr. Daniel Paille as an Independent Advisor who will conduct a review of public opinion research (POR) practices across government.

"Public opinion research in an important tool that allows us to better understand the needs and expectations of Canadians to deliver appropriate policies, programs and services," said Minister Fortier. "Canada's New Government is listening to Canadians and taking action. Questions have been raised about how the previous government used this research tool and the Independent Advisor will ensure that public opinion research practices are open, transparent, and fair, as well as provide value for Canadian taxpayers."

"The Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan are helping restore Canadians' trust in Government and the democratic process," said the Honourable Vic Toews, President of the Treasury Board. "The appointment of the Independent Advisor is an another important step in the implementation of this important priority to make government more accountable."

The Independent Advisor will review documents related to government public opinion research practices for the period of 1990 to March 31, 2003. More specifically, the review will be conducted on public opinion research contract files; program files and records; public opinion research reports; reviews of public opinion research practices and management carried out by central agencies and departments (i.e., reports, action plans and follow-up reports); and reports of the Auditor General that have been tabled in Parliament. The Independent Advisor will also address issues raised, directly or indirectly, in Chapter 5 of the Auditor General's November 2003 report, and determine whether further action is required. Appointed for a term of six months, Mr. Paille will report to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services.

This announcement is part of the ongoing implementation of the Federal Accountability Act, which received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006, and its accompanying Action Plan. Through the Act and Action Plan, Canada's New Government has brought forward specific measures to strengthen accountability in Government. More information on the Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan is available at www.accountability.gc.ca.

Backgrounder and biographical notes for Mr. Daniel Paille are attached.

BACKGROUNDER

INDEPENDENT ADVISOR ON PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH

The Government of Canada uses public opinion research (POR) and advertising to listen to and communicate with Canadians. They are vehicles through which Government captures public awareness and concerns, remains focused on the needs of citizens, and reaches Canadians with information on its programs and services.

As part of its Federal Accountability Act and Action Plan, the Government is appointing an Independent Advisor on Public Opinion Research for a term of six months.

The Independent Advisor is to provide independent advice to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services on public opinion research practices of departments and agencies of the Government of Canada. The mandate is with respect to questions raised, directly or indirectly, by Chapter 5 of the November 2003 Report of the Auditor General of Canada to the House of Commons with regard to the Government's public opinion research practices. Without duplicating past or ongoing work of the Auditor General, the Independent Advisor will:

i) Take into account the relevant policies and directives, review documents related to Government public opinion research practices for the period 1990 to March 31, 2003, including:

- public opinion research contract files, program files and records;

- public opinion research reports;

- reviews of public opinion research practices and management carried out by central agencies and departments (e.g. reports, action plans and follow-up reports);

- reports of the Auditor General that have been tabled in Parliament.

ii) Consult with appropriate Government of Canada officials and seek the views as required from private sector public opinion research service providers.

iii) Determine whether issues raised, directly or indirectly, in Chapter 5 of the November 2003 Report of the Auditor General of Canada with regard to the Government's public opinion research practices require further inquiry.

iv) Provide to the Minister, within six months after the date of appointment, a report in both official languages which the Minister will subsequently make public that:

- establishes whether there are issues of public interest relating to the Government of Canada's management of public opinion research that remain to be addressed;

- advises on whether further action is required;

- does not express any conclusion or recommendation regarding civil or criminal liability of any person.

Other measures to improve transparency, fairness and value for money in POR and advertising include:

- prohibiting verbal-only POR reports;

- requiring that departments and agencies, within six months of completing POR fieldwork, send to Library and Archives Canada a final written report on research findings and require that POR contract information and executive summaries of completed projects be posted on the Internet for ease of public access;

- requiring that the bidding process in the contracting of Government advertising and POR be open, fair, transparent, and competitive;

- adopting a new definition of advertising to distinguish it from services such as public relations and events management; and

- instructing departments and agencies to include advertising and POR activities and processes in their risk-based audits.

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) coordinates and purchases public opinion research on behalf of departments for the Government of Canada. PWGSC's coordination role is one of support to departments, through assistance and advice for public opinion research requirements.

Daniel PAILLE

Daniel Paille is a guest professor in the finance department at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Montreal, where he gives some courses on corporate finance, ethics and regulations.

He has a Master's degree in economics from the University of Quebec at Montreal, a Bachelor's degree in business administration from HEC Montreal and an honorary degree from the University of Montreal.

Throughout the course of his career, he has worked in both government and corporate environments.

He was Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of Canam Group Inc., a public company, from 2001 to 2005; First Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer of the Societe generale de financement, a government corporation, from 1996 to 2001; Senior Vice-President, Acquisition and Business Development, at Quebecor Inc., a public corporation, from 1992 to 1994; and Executive Vice-President, Private Equity, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, from 1988 to 1992.

Daniel Paille was Minister of Industry, Commerce, Science and Technology and a member of the Treasury Board in the Government of Quebec from 1994 to 1996. From 1976 to 1988, he was a Tax Expert; Financial Advisor to the Minister; Director of Treasury; Director General, Public Debt and Treasury; and Director General, Financial Management of Government Corporations and the Privatization Program within the Government of Quebec.

Daniel Paille has been a board member of many corporations and member of audit committees. He was also a member and Chairman of the Board of Directors at l'Accueil Bonneau in Montreal, as well as a Member of the National Assembly for the riding of Prevost from 1994 to 1996.

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Contact Information

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