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Delegation of Authority

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PPGPortal > Home > Concept Dictionary > D, E > Delegation of Authority

Delegation of Authority 

The assignment of a power, responsibility or practice by a person who is required by legislation or policy, to carry out the authority to another person(s) or another position(s). 

(Ontario Public Service, Delegation of Authority Key Directive) 




• Accountability cannot be delegated or changed.

• Responsibilities and authorities can be delegated.

• Individuals can exercise only those responsibilities and authorities that have been delegated to them. These can only be exercised within legislative restrictions and thresholds set by the Management Board of Cabinet and the Minister of Finance.

• Delegations should be based on needs related to business objectives and risk assessment and should be decided within the context of overall legislation, OPS Values and Ethics and the OPS administrative directives and policies.

• When delegating, risk should be managed by ensuring that there are adequate internal controls such as segregation of duties, compensating controls and audit trails in place.

Some of the key legislative acts that pertain to this directive include the Ministry of Treasury and Economics Act, Sec 5 & 8; the Public Service act, Sec 21 & 23; the Financial Administration Act, Sec 2,4,5,11 etc. as well as other relevant Ministry specific acts that are not directly identified within the directive itself. The Ministry states that this directive is required in order to facilitate diverse operations within the Ontario Public Service. Given this diverse environment, there is a need to evenly distribute workload and “move responsibility close to the point of contact.”  It also assists with the principle of segregated duties and responsibilities, wherein no one individual can benefit from a delegated or assigned responsibility. For example the Ministry states that ‘compensating controls’ are put in place when the Government of Ontario makes a payment whereby top level management from both the spending and payment side of authority monitor the release of funds. In having management from two separate areas of authority review requests for release of funding, government can ensure principles of accountability and transparency are upheld.

In this directive, the Ministry of Finance and the Management Board Secretariat are seen as central agencies responsible for:

• Creating, implementing and monitoring corporate strategies to ensure the effective and accountable management of government resources (MBS lead);

• Reviewing and recommending changes to existing legislation (in consultation with ministries and agencies, )  to allow efficient economical and effective delegation (MoF lead);

• Notifying ministries, agencies and bargaining agents of changes in limits imposed by legislation, regulations and policies, (MBS lead); and

• Recommending best practices to assist ministries and agencies in the management of delegations.

This directive applies to all authorities employed or exercised internally by organizations such as the Shared Service Bureau and ministries who provide processing services to other ministries. In each case, it is the contracting ministry’s responsibility to ensure that a framework is in place whereby internal controls are created in each service providing organization, such that all activities are properly authorized.


Ontario Public Service, Delegation of Authority Key Directive


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