In the 25 years since regulators began designating ‘administrative authorities’ operating at arm’s length from government, the resulting organizations have improved operations and transparency by following recommendations of past evaluations, according to a new research report from the Consumers Council of Canada.
However, the report found that in order for the model to retain public confidence, government oversight will need to be effective and well-resourced, and quality third-party scrutiny will be required.
From a consumer perspective, the report identifies opportunities for improvement around engagement. Some Designated Administrative Authorities’ (DAA) boards are predominantly comprised of industry participants, a practice the report describes as “increasingly appearing to be out of step with modern governance practices.”
The report titled A Review of the Consumer Interest in Select Delegated Administrative Authorities from a Governance Perspective examines the wide range of non-government regulators, such as Ontario’s Designated Administrative Authorities (DAA) and similar models in Alberta and British Columbia. These authorities have been set up to protect consumers from financial and public safety harm. Examples in Ontario include: Technical Standards and Safety Authority, Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council and Real Estate Council of Ontario.
The role of consumer advisory councils and the importance of consumer-focused research to tap into the views of consumers who buy services from regulated entities were also part of the research.
The report is available in both English and French, and can be accessed at no charge through the Council’s content store.
Consumers Council of Canada received funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Contributions Program for Non-profit Consumer and Voluntary Organizations. The views expressed in this report are not necessarily those of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada or of the Government of Canada.