In 2007, the Municipal Act (the ‘Act’) was amended to provide municipalities with greater autonomy but also to mandate the implementation of various accountability and transparency measures. In response:
- we established the Accountability and Transparency Special Committee to review the legislative changes related to Accountability and Transparency, develop a Code of Conduct for Council and Local Boards and make various recommendations to Council regarding the appointment of integrity officers.
- subject matter related to the governance of the City, including monitoring and providing guidance for the effective governance of the organization, will be discussed every two months during the Committee of the Whole meeting.
We are committed to conducting business in an open, transparent and accountable manner, and have embedded these principles within our various policies, practices and procedures. We make every effort to provide you and the community with as much information as possible. If you cannot find what you are looking for, contact the appropriate department or the City Clerk’s Office.
- establish a common basis for the ethical behaviour of Members of Council and Local Boards, and
- increase public confidence by making a commitment to operate with integrity, justice and courtesy.
Council appointed an Integrity Commissioner to address the application of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Local Boards. The Integrity Commissioner has the power to deal with requests to investigate suspected contraventions of the Code of Conduct and recommend the following penalties:
- A reprimand; or
- Suspension of the remuneration of the Council or Local Board member for a period of up to 90 days.
In addition to conducting formal Code of Conduct investigations, the Integrity Commissioner also serves as an advisor on appropriate conduct to individual Members of Council or Council as a whole.
The Integrity Commissioner delivers an annual report to Council providing a summary of activity throughout the year and information related to best practices and the potential development and/or revision of policies and procedures which emphasize the importance of ethical conduct.
- the member to whom the complaint relates;
- the nature of the alleged contravention;
- the specific provision(s) of the Code allegedly contravened;
- names of any witnesses to the alleged contravention; and
- written material in support of the alleged contravention.
Upon receipt of a complaint or request for enquiry, the Integrity Commissioner shall first determine if it is within their jurisdiction and whether there is a procedure under other legislation or City policy to deal with the complaint. If it is determined that other procedures apply, the Integrity Commissioner shall refer the complainant to the appropriate person or agency to follow that process.
Where it has been determined that a complaint should be dealt with under another process, it will no longer be considered or dealt with by the Integrity Commissioner and the time limits described in the other processes will apply accordingly.
Upon receipt of a complaint or request to conduct an enquiry within their jurisdiction, and if the Integrity Commissioner deems the complaint or request to have merit, the Integrity Commissioner may deliver a preliminary report to an open meeting of Council which may include the following:
- The opinion of the Integrity Commissioner as to whether the enquiry is appropriate and whether it can be conducted within the law applicable to such an enquiry;
- An indication as to whether it is the Integrity Commissioner’s intention to conduct the enquiry under the Public Inquiries Act;
- A preliminary indication of the members of staff and/or consultants needed to assist the Integrity Commissioner;
- An estimated cost of the enquiry;
- The estimated time required to complete the enquiry and prepare a final report; and
- Where appropriate, the Integrity Commissioner may recommend that the alleged infraction be reported to the police and that the enquiry be suspended until the police investigation is completed.
If the Integrity Commissioner is of the opinion that a complaint or request to conduct an enquiry is frivolous, vexatious, not made in good faith or that there are insufficient grounds for an enquiry, the Integrity Commissioner shall not prepare a preliminary report to Council and shall not conduct an enquiry.
- such gifts or benefits that normally accompany the responsibilities of office and are received as an incident of protocol or social obligation.
- a suitable memento of a function honouring the member.
- food, lodging, transportation and entertainment provided by provincial, regional or local governments, or political subdivisions of them, by the federal government or a foreign country.
- food and beverages consumed at banquets, receptions or similar events, if:
- attendance serves a legitimate business purpose;
- the person extending the invitation or a representative of the organization is in attendance; and
- the value is reasonable and attendance at events sponsored by the same entity is infrequent.
- communication to the offices of a member, including subscriptions to newspapers and periodicals.
A registry of all reported gifts is available. Please note that, to date, no gift disclosures have been received.
- Complainant’s name, mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address
- Date of Closed Meeting in question
- Nature and Background of the particular occurrence
- Any activities undertaken (if any) to resolve the concern
- Any other relevant information
- Original signature
Complaints shall be submitted in a sealed envelope marked “Closed Meeting Investigation Complaint” and either delivered in person to the City Clerk’s Department on the 4th floor of City Hall, or mailed to:
City Clerk’s Office
City Hall, 1 Carden Street
Guelph, ON N1H 3A1
The Clerk will forward the complaint to LAS who will conduct an assessment and, if deemed to be warranted, appoint an Investigator. The Act states that when the investigation is complete and the Investigator is of the opinion that the closed meeting should not have been closed to the public as per the Act and/or Procedural Bylaw, the Investigator must submit a report, with or without recommendations, to City Council at an open meeting.
For more information
For more information about accountability and transparency measures, contact the Clerk’s Department at 519-837-5603 (TTY 519-826-9771) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.