Integrity Commissioner

On July 10, 2018 The Township of Central Frontenac appointed Aird & Berlis LLP (John Mascarin) as its Integrity Commissioner. By-Law  2019- 11 was then enacted on February 26, 2019 which adopted its Code of Conduct and Staff-Relationship Policy.  The role of the Integrity Commissioner is to help ensure the Members of Council and Local Boards perform their functions in accordance with the Code of Conduct and other procedures, rules or policies governing their ethical behaviour.

Role of the Integrity Commissioner

The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for the following:

  • Provide confidential written and oral advice to the Mayor, Councillors and Local Board appointees about their own situations respecting the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Local boards and other by-laws, policies and procedures governing ethical behaviour, including general advice about the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.  
  • Deal with complaints relating to breaches of the Code of Conduct.  Complaints can be dealt with through an informal or formal  process.  When carrying out a formal complaint investigation, the Commissioner can summon evidence and examine witnesses under oath.  Should the Integrity Commissioner find a contravention, he or she can recommend Council impose various penalties on the member who has contravened to Code of Conduct.  The available penalties range from suspension of remuneration to a reprimand or apology.
  • Provide educational programs to members of Council and Local Boards.  

Filing a Complaint 

Any individual who has identified or witnessed a behaviour or activity by a Member that appears to be in contravention of the Code of Conduct or Municipal Conflict of Interest Act is encouraged to submit an informal complaint before proceeding with a formal complaint.

  Informal Complaint:
 
  1. Any individual may seek to address the prohibited behaviour or activity themselves in the following manner by following the Informal Procedure:
    • Document the incident(s) where the Member may have contravened the Code of Conduct including dates, times, locations, other persons present, and any other relevant information;
    • Advise a third party about the concerns regarding the Member's Actions;
    • Advise the Member that the behaviour or activity appears to contravene the Code of Conduct;
    • Identify to the Member the specific provision(s) of the Code of Conduct that may have been contravened;
    • Encourage the Member to acknowledge and agree to stop the prohibited behaviour or activity and to undertake to refrain from future occurrences of the prohibited behaviour or activity;
    • Request the Integrity Commissioner to assist in informal discussions of an alleged complaint with the member in an attempt to settle or resolve the issue;
    • If applicable:
      • confirm to the Member that his or her response is satisfactory, or
      • advise the Member that his or her response is unsatisfactory;
    • Consider the need to pursue the matter in accordance with the Formal Complaint Procedure set out in Part B, or in accordance with any other applicable judicial or quasi-judicial process or complaint procedure.
  2. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pursue the Informal Complaint Procedure as the first means of remedying behaviour or activity of a Member that they believe violates the Code of Conduct.
  3. With the consent of both the complaining individual and the Member, the Integrity Commissioner may participate in any informal process. The parties involved are encouraged to take advantage of the Integrity Commissioner’s potential role as a mediator/conciliator of issues relating to a complaint.
  4. The Informal Complaint Procedure is not a precondition or a prerequisite to pursuing the Formal Complaint Procedure related to the Code of Conduct set out in Part B.
 Formal Complaints
 
  1. Any individual who identifies or witnesses behaviour or activity by a Member that they reasonably believe contravenes the Code of Conduct may file a formal complaint to request an inquiry by the Integrity Commissioner as to whether a Member has contravened the Code of Conduct in accordance with the following requirements:
    • all complaints shall be in writing on the prescribed form and shall be dated and signed by an identifiable individual;
    • the complaint must set out reasonable and probable grounds for the allegation that a Member has contravened the Code of Conduct and must be accompanied by a supporting sworn affidavit setting out the evidence in full in support of the allegation; and
    • Council may also file a complaint against any of its Members of an alleged contravention of the Code of Conduct by passing a resolution requesting the Integrity Commissioner to undertake an inquiry.
  2. An elector, as defined in Section 1 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, or a person demonstrable acting in the public interest (collectively, a "complainant") may file a formal request that the Integrity Commissioner carry out an inquiry concerning an alleged contravention of section 5, 5.1 or 5.2 of that Act by a Member in accordance with the following requirements:
    • all requests (also referred to as "complaints") shall be in writing on the prescribed form (Formal Complaint Form #1) dated and signed by an identifiable individual;
    • the request shall include a statutory declaration attesting to the fact that;
      • the complainant became aware of the contravention not more than six (6) weeks before the date of the complaint, or
      • in the case where the complainant became aware of the alleged contravention during the period of time described in paragraph 1 of subsection 223.4.1(5) of the Municipal Act, 2001, that the complainant became aware of the alleged contravention during that period of time;
    • Council may also pass a resolution requesting the Integrity Commissioner to undertake an inquiry respecting an alleged contravention of sections 5, 5.1 or 5.2 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by a Member and provide a statutory declaration as required by Section 1(2).
  3.  Complainants who file a formal complaint under Sections 1(1) or 1(2) must provide a full and complete record of evidence to the Integrity Commissioner who is under no obligation whatsoever to, but may, seek additional information to supplement or completed the evidentiary record to substantiate or support the allegations set out in the complaint or request. 

Complaints may be filed with the Clerk of the Municipality by hard copy, or directly with the Integrity Commissioner by a sealed hard copy or by email to the Integrity Commissioner.  For more information about filing a complaint, please contact the Clerk 613-279-2935 x227 or Deputy Clerk at 613-279-2935 x237

Integrity Commissioner contact information:

John Mascarin | jmascarin@airdberlis.com | 416-865-7721
Aird Berlis LLP
Brookfield Place, 181 Bay Street, Suite 1800
Toronto, Canada
M5J 2T9

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