Toronto Parking Authority receives advice surrounding controversial land deal in camera, but still no report planned for Executive Committee

3 p.m. Nov. 21, 2017. A sign outside a committee room at city hall reads “in camera” as the Toronto Parking Authority Board hears from an outside investigator about the auditor general's observations of a controversial land deal at Finch Avenue West and Arrow Road.

Nov. 21, 2017

By Arianne Robinson

A last-minute additional item to the Toronto Parking Authority agenda about a controversial land deal was held in camera on Tuesday.

The item was titled “Update from Outside Investigator regarding the Auditor General’s Observations of a Land Acquisition at Finch Avenue West and Arrow Road.” The in-camera item took 28 minutes, and was recorded by the clerk as a verbal update to the board.

Back in July, city council moved a motion to forward “copies of the reports from the Auditor General and external counsel for the Toronto Parking Authority to the Integrity Commissioner with a request that she conduct an investigation into whether current and past members of the boards of the Toronto Parking Authority and the Emery Village Business Improvement Area contravened the Code of Conduct in dealing with this matter.”

However, given that no actual report was submitted to the board, it is not clear why council’s direction was interpreted to produce a process without a paper trail.

At its summer meeting, council also directed city manager Peter Wallace to conduct an investigation into the findings of the auditor general and to report to Executive Committee on the governance and composition of the board following the completion of his investigation, and no later than Dec. 31, 2017.

As of the time of publication, the agenda for Mayor John Tory’s Executive Committee (the last meeting of 2017), posted online on Tuesday, did not include an item reporting on the investigation or board governance.

Also on the land-deal item, council requested the city manager “review whether the existing whistle-blowing and reprisal protection provisions that apply to directors of City agencies are adequate and, if necessary, report on ways and means of enhancing them” and “to retain the services of a qualified expert in board governance to review and evaluate the actions of the Toronto Parking Authority Board in this matter and report to City Council at the appropriate time.”

The timeline for when those reviews will come forward is not clear. In the meantime, Wallace serves as the interim chair of the parking board, after council moved in July that members of the Toronto Parking Authority Board would take a leave of absence without remuneration while the city manager conducts an investigation into the findings of the auditor general.

Other members include chief corporate officer Josie Scioli and deputy city manager Giuliana Carbone.