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Accountability and Governance

OAC, an agency of the Government of Ontario, serves as the primary funder of the arts in the province. It ensures that the public’s interest and investment in the arts is protected and secure.

The Government of Ontario and the creation of the Ontario Arts Council

The Arts Council Act was given third reading on April 26, 1963. In introducing the Act, then-Premier John Robarts stressed “we are giving the Council the widest possible scope in order that it may have as large an impact on the cultural life of our province as possible”.

Through the creation of the Ontario Arts Council, the Government of Ontario has played a critical leadership role in enabling the arts to thrive in this province. Public appreciation for the arts has grown as our province continues to prosper, our population continues to increase, and artists seek to express who we are.

The arts enrich the life of every Ontarian. OAC invests in the arts community for the enjoyment and benefit of all Ontarians. OAC reports to the Ontario Legislature via the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.



The OAC board of directors is made up of volunteers appointed by the government of the day whose collective experience is in the arts, education, business and the professions.  They ensure that OAC operates with accountability and transparency and reflects the diversity of Ontario’s arts community.  Among them, OAC’s current board members have either served on the boards of or been involved in more than 40 arts-related organizations covering most arts disciplines.

There are several committees of the board to ensure that its fiduciary and other duties are met, including a Governance Committee, Finance and Audit Committee, a Public Affairs Committee, and a Human Resources Committee.

The Governance Committee provides leadership in all matters relating to corporate governance issues, including the role of the board and its committees and members, and the board’s relationship to management. It administers an annual board effectiveness questionnaire, as well as annual chair and personal assessment questionnaires.  The governance committee oversees OAC risk management as it relates to board activity.

Committee Members

  • Janet E. Stewart (Chair)
  • Rita Davies (ex officio member)
  • Judith Gelber
  • Harvey A. Slack
  • Mary Alice Smith

Staff:  Peter Caldwell (Director & CEO)
Executive Coordinator: Randi Apple

The Finance and Audit Committee oversees all matters relating to financial issues, including OAC’s budget and business planning, investing, legal issues and reporting processes. This committee meets annually with representatives of the Auditor General of Ontario to discuss the results of the annual audit and any recommendations the auditors might have.

Committee Members

  • Sean White (Chair)
  • Rita Davies (ex officio member)
  • Judith Gelber
  • Mark Campbell
Staff: Jerry Zhang (Committee Liaison), Peter Caldwell (Director & CEO)
Executive Coordinator: Randi Apple

The Public Affairs Committee develops advocacy initiatives and presents a consistent corporate image through public positions and policy statements; identifies issues of immediate or long-term concern to the arts community; and provides leadership in all activities relating to communications.

Committee Members

  • Harvey A. Slack (Chair)
  • Marie-Élisabeth Brunet
  • Rita Davies (ex officio member)
  • Judith Gelber
  • Martin Ship (community representative)

Staff: Peter Caldwell (Director & CEO), Carolyn Vesely (Director of Granting), Kirsten Gunter (Director of Communications), Kathryn Townshend (Director of Research, Policy and Evaluation)
Executive Coordinator: Randi Apple

The Human Resources Committee oversees the corporate human resources policies and initiatives of OAC, including performance management and evaluation, salary and employment terms, benefit packages, staff development, training initiatives and succession planning.

Committee Members

  • Judith Gelber (Chair)
  • Rita Davies (ex officio member)
  • David General
  • Janet E. Stewart

Staff: Peter Caldwell (Director & CEO), Jerry Zhang (Director, Finance and Administration), Nina Small (Director of Human Resources)
Executive Coordinator: Randi Apple

Financial controls

OAC complies with government financial standards and procurement controls, among other controls.

Our operating effectiveness: Approximately 13 per cent of OAC’s budget is spent on services (2 per cent) and administrative expenses (11 per cent), allowing OAC to invest 87 per cent of its budget on grants to artists and arts organizations. 

Conflict of Interest Rules

Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (Ontario regulation 381/07)
Conflict of interest rules for public servants (ministry) and former public servants (ministry)

OAC Conflict of Interest GuidelinesWord Doc
Attachment to Ontario Regulation 381/07 of the PSOA Act, 2006

OAC Governance Documents

As an agency of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Ontario Arts Council, is subject to the Government of Ontario’s Management Board of Cabinet Directives, specifically, the Agencies & Appointments Directive. To fulfil this directive, the Ontario Arts Council has posted the following documents:

Business Plans