What are the Commissioner’s main duties?
All elected public officials are subject to a Code of Conduct. The mandate of the Integrity Commissioner is to ensure that this code of behaviour and ethics governing elected officials is objectively applied.
Duties of the Integrity Commissioner include conducting inquiries into requests made by a member of the public, Council or a Member of Council, into whether or not a Member of Council has contravened the Code of Conduct.
The Integrity Commissioner also provides advice and guidance to Council to prevent potential violations of the Code of Conduct as well as provides education sessions for Members of Council on ethics and integrity.
What is the extent of the Integrity Commissioner's authority?
The Integrity Commissioner has authority over Members of Council and enforces the provisions of the Code of Conduct. The Integrity Commissioner does not have jurisdiction over the rules of procedure contained in the Procedural By-Law. That comes under the Ontario Ombudsman. The Integrity Commissioner also does not have jurisdiction over the conduct of civic employees or the conduct of members of committees who are not Members of Council.
There are other types of complaints in which the Integrity Commissioner does not have authority as they are covered by existing legislation or regulatory mechanisms. For example, an allegation that may involve a contravention of the Criminal Code of Canada is a police matter, and would not be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner. Likewise, the Integrity Commissioner would not consider a complaint of alleged pecuniary conflict of interest involving a Member of Council as a remedy is provided under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Contact the Integrity Commissioner to determine if the matter is a Code of Conduct violation.
Who can file a complaint?
Members of the public, as well as other Members of Council, can file complaints for potential violations of the Code of Conduct.
What is the process for filing a complaint?
Members of the public can file a complaint by following the Complaint Protocol and completing a signed affidavit. The complaint is filed with the City Clerk and then forwarded to the Integrity Commissioner.
How is the complaint investigated?
Where an informal resolution cannot be achieved, a formal investigation is undertaken. The elected official is given a copy of the complaint and asked to provide a response in writing. The elected official then responds to the Integrity Commissioner.
In order for the Integrity Commissioner to adjudicate the matter, it is essential that the Integrity Commissioner gathers all information and evidence that is relevant to the complaint. This process could include interviews with the complainant, the elected official(s), as well as City staff or others. It may also include the gathering of documentation and the review and analysis of that documentation. Upon completion of all inquiries and investigations into the matter, a report is then submitted to Council detailing the results of the inquiry. This report is made public.
Does the Integrity Commissioner investigate complaints about City employees?
The Integrity Commissioner does not have jurisdiction over City employees, including City Council staff. The activities of the Integrity Commissioner relate to the Council Code of Conduct only. City employees come under the jurisdiction of the City Manager.
Can an anonymous complaint be filed?
The Complaint Protocol makes no provision for anonymous complaints or for withholding the complainant's name from the Member of Council. However, the Protocol does include an informal complaint procedure that allows the Integrity Commissioner to have an informal discussion with the Member of Council in an attempt to resolve the issue.
How is the public informed of the Commissioner’s activity? The results of the Commissioner’s investigations are made public once they have been accepted by Council. The Commissioner also publishes an annual report. These reports are posted to the City’s website.