Regulatory Modernization Leads to the Regulator's Code of Practice

The Government of Ontario is creating a competitive, streamlined and modern system of government that above all maintains the safety of Ontarians. The Regulator's Code of Practice provides a consistent set of values, elements of professionalism and service principles for regulatory compliance staff to follow.

The Code further ensures that businesses and the public are treated fairly and with respect when they are being licensed, inspected, investigated or audited. Consistent, professional and efficient service in regulatory compliance activities permits businesses to better focus on increasing competitiveness and economic growth.

Compliance staff in the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) undertake a wide range of activities that are critical to protecting the public interest. To reflect the modernization of regulatory compliance in Ontario the Regulator's Code of Practice promotes a compliance-focused approach that is risk-based and focuses on the desired outcome - a safe, healthy and fair Ontario. This new approach for Ontario regulators will help provide a consistent approach to those we regulate.

The Regulator's Code of Practice replaces the Code of Professionalism. The Code preserves elements of professionalism and service standards and sets out best practices for regulatory compliance staff to use in the development, implementation and in some circumstances, enforcement of regulatory laws.

Compliance-Focused Approach is New

While the majority of individuals and businesses in Ontario comply with our laws, some may have difficulty complying because they misunderstand legislation requirements, make errors in taking steps to achieve compliance, or lack resources.

Regulators focus on the objectives of regulatory law and policy in a compliance-focused approach. It's a new way of thinking.

This new approach uses innovative, efficient and effective methods of achieving compliance. It encourages proactive approaches to compliance based on prevention. As an example, an inspector might provide guidance and educate a client about a different way of achieving compliance that doesn't focus on an investigation of compliance failures.

This is a Risk-Based Approach

Risk management involves identifying potential hazards and undesirable events, understanding the likelihood and consequences of the undesirable event, and taking steps to reduce the risk. This approach to compliance forms the basis of OMAF's regulatory enforcement by:

  • ensuring a consistent approach to compliance across Ontario
  • identifying threats as well as opportunities for compliance improvements
  • allowing for more effective resource allocation, resulting in improved public safety
  • highlighting regulatory gaps or overlaps that should be addressed
  • informing the appropriate enforcement strategy, based on objective criteria including, but not limited to, legislation, high-risk activities and history of compliance.

Elements of Professionalism in the Code

The Code provides elements of professionalism to support compliance activities and promote a consistent level of service excellence for the citizens of Ontario. The Regulator's Code of Practice will also ensure that businesses and the public are treated fairly and with respect when they are being licensed, inspected, investigated, audited or otherwise regulated, specifically:

  • honesty and integrity through fairness
  • respect and courtesy to everyone at all times in all situations
  • objectivity in performing all duties impartially
  • using the utmost confidentiality
  • staff and managers maintaining their knowledge and competencies through continuous learning
  • conduct and conclude activities in a timely manner.

The Regulator's Code of Practice is compliance-focused rather than enforcement-focused. This new approach is a commitment to protect the interests of all Ontarians by ensuring that public safety is a priority.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Local: (519) 826-4047
Author: OMAF Staff
Creation Date: 20 June 2007
Last Reviewed: 03 March 2014