From Integrity Agency to Accountability Network: The Political Economy of Public Sector Oversight in Canada

Volume 46, No 2
Jamie Baxter

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The federal integrity agencies that are delegated collective responsibility for public sector oversight in Canada face a common challenge to stabilize their ongoing independence from political control. While Parliament has delegated to these agencies key oversight functions that demand some degree of structural independence, they remain vulnerable to shifting political preferences and to an increasingly partisan national politics. This article uses a political economy framework to theorize the objectives that shape political preferences for integrity agency independence in Canada, and to suggest that structural innovations in the form of “accountability networks” may provide one strategy to help stabilize arm’s length relationships between politicians and agencies over the long run.

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