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

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Integrity Agency, Accountability Network, Independence from Political Control, Political Economy of Public Sector Oversight


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 agency independence in Canada, and to suggest that structural innovations in the form of 'accountability networks' may provide one strategy to help stabilize those preferences over the long run.