About the Author
Richard McCandless was born and raised in Port Alberni, and earned a BA (Hons) in 1973 from the University of Victoria, and a Masters of Public Administration in 1974 from Queen’s University in Kingston. He joined the BC public service in 1975 and spent his first ten years in the post-secondary sector helping shape the expansion of the college and institute sector.
After a two-year period as a senior analyst in Treasury Board Staff, McCandless joined the Ministry of Attorney General in 1988. After a series of progressively more responsible positions, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer in 1994 where he was responsible for all financial matters, including the capital budget. In 1998 McCandless transferred to the role of ADM responsible for all court operations in the province, where reporting was shared with the Deputy Minister and the three chief judges/justices of the courts. From 2004 until his retirement McCandless was the Chief Information Officer for the provincial government.
During his time as ADM, McCandless improved the budgeting and resource utilizations systems in the justice ministry, and was an early champion of the use of integrated information systems in improving the delivery of public services. This included the successful implementation (2001) of North America’s most automated criminal case tracking system, followed by the civil case filing system. He led the rationalization of justice delivery methods, including video remand hearings, tele-bail hearings and the rationalization of court locations. Management information systems were integrated into the budgeting and resource allocation process to provide greater accountability for results.
Mr. McCandless was the lead government negotiator during the transfer of the driver licensing function to ICBC in the early 1990s, including the sign-off by cabinet. This led to his later interest in the finances and operation of that Crown corporation.
During his time as a senior manager McCandless developed a reputation as a respected budget manager. The linking of performance measures to resource utilization was an important aspect of the evolution to greater accountability for program managers.
In retirement Richard McCandless has continued to take an interest in public policy issues. After some 18 months of research he wrote an article about the history of the government’s involvement in the finances of ICBC; “Politics and Public Automobile Insurance in BC, 1970 to 2010” was published by BC Studies in 2013. A second article “Rate Suppression and Debt Transformation: The Political Use of BC Hydro 2008 to 2014” was published by BC Studies in November 2016.
Richard McCandless has been an intervener in the BC Utilities Commission’s 2014 and 2015 reviews of ICBC’s rate increase requests. He has given a presentation to the Utilities Commission (June 2016) on BC Hydro’s finances, and has appeared on Shaw Cable’s “Voice of BC” public affairs program (23 June 2016). He has commented on the government’s financial control of ICBC and BC Hydro in a number of other forums.
Richard and his wife Sally live in Saanich, BC.