Taras Natyshak MPP, Essex

Government of Ontario

Letter to Premiere Ford on Deco

Published on September 18, 2019

Dear Premier Doug Ford,

A recent CBC report has, once again, raised troubling questions about insider access to your government, and I am writing to call on you to take specific steps to be transparent with Ontarians.

Today, CBC news is reporting that you held a face-to-face meeting with the co-owner of a firm that was a long-time client of Deco Labels & Tags, a company that is supposed to be in a completely arm’s length blind trust. Ironically, your inappropriate help for that same long-time client led Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner to find that you had violated Toronto City Council’s Code of Conduct. Inexplicably, your office claimed this meeting pertained to hospital health waits, but only after your staff first claimed that the conversation was on the government’s business agenda. Further, your Premier’s Office staff also claimed that this client no longer has a business relationship with Deco, which raises very serious and troubling questions. Deco is supposed to be in an arm’s length trust and, under such a trust, you and your staff should not have knowledge or access to information about Deco’s current client list.

The people of Ontario need to know that their premier is accountable to them, not insiders or business clients. In the finding I mentioned earlier, Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner noted that you refused to disclose requested information. This secrecy about your business dealings does not inspire public confidence.
Under the Member’s Integrity Act, the Integrity Commissioner can’t disclose details of the blind trust arrangement you have with Deco, but you can and you should. It’s especially important to clear the air since, despite the blind trust arrangement, Deco’s five directors are family relations. Each director lists your family home as their business address in corporate documents filed with the federal government. Moreover, your personal home is listed as the mailing address for Deco. To most people, this does not seem like an “arm’s length” relationship.

Ontario families deserve transparency. Sharing the details of your blind trust arrangement would be a start.

Taras Natyshak