Integrity Commissioner--effective July 1, 2022
The Office of the Integrity Commissioner
Section 223.3 of the revised Municipal Act, supra, enables a municipality to appoint an "Integrity Commissioner" to address the application of the Code of Conduct for elected officials and/or members of local boards. In addition, the legislation provides that the Integrity Commissioner can be delegated any or all of the policy matters surrounding the enforcement of Codes of Conduct for elected officials and/or members of local boards.
Further, pursuant to section 223.4, an Integrity Commissioner has the power to deal with requests to investigate suspected contraventions of the Code of Conduct and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, has the right of free access to all records of a municipality, a Councillor or a local board that the Commissioner believes is necessary to investigate an inquiry. Section 223.4 of the Act also specifies that the Integrity Commissioner may recommend the following penalties should there be determination a contravention has occurred:
- A reprimand; or
- Suspension of the remuneration of the local board or Council member for a period of up to 90 days.
The full mandate of the Integrity Commissioner has four components and is as follows:
The Integrity Commissioner will provide written and oral advice to individual members of Council about their own situation respecting Code of Conduct and other by-laws/policies governing the ethical behaviour of members, including general interpretation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act; and providing the full Council with specific and general opinions and advice respecting compliance by elected officials with the provisions of governing Acts and other conduct policies;
- Complaint Investigation:
The Integrity Commissioner will have the power to assess and investigate complaints made to the Commissioner from a member of Council/public; or the whole Council, all pursuant to section 223.3 of the Municipal Act;
- Complaint Adjudication:
The Integrity Commissioner will have the power to determine whether a member of Council has in fact violated a City protocol, a by-law or policy governing their ethical behaviour and to recommend a penalty as prescribed by the Municipal Act, except that Council shall make the final decision on whether any penalty recommended is imposed on the member found in contravention;
The Integrity Commissioner will publish an annual report on findings of typical advice and complaint cases, will provide, as required, outreach programs to members of Council and staff on legislation, protocols and office procedures emphasizing the importance of ethics for public confidence in municipal government; and will disseminate information regarding the Office of Integrity Commissioner to the public.
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