The Municipal Act requires Council to appoint an Integrity Commissioner who performs specified functions regarding the application of the Council and Committee and Board Code of Conduct (“Code”), the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, l R.S.O. 1990, Chapter M.50 (“Act”). The Code and Act apply to all Members of Council and members appointed to boards and committees to promote accountability and transparency in municipal governance.
In June 2018, Council appointed ADR Chambers Inc. to provide Integrity Commissioner services to the Town of Georgina from June 27, 2018 to June 27, 2020. ADR Chambers designated (and Council confirmed) Deborah Anschell as Integrity Commissioner for the Town. She is also the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Waterloo and Town of Richmond Hill, a deputy judge of the Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Small Claims Court, and has more than 10 years of experience as an ombudsman. She is a member of the law societies of Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
Responsibilities of the Integrity Commissioner
The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for providing policy advice, complaint resolution and education to Members of Council on issues of ethics and integrity. This is done to maintain high ethical standards at the Town of Georgina.
The Integrity Commissioner:
- Investigates complaints and alleged breaches of the Code or Act for Members of Council and members of Town boards and committees.
- Reviews the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and members of Town boards and committees, and makes recommendations on an annual basis.
- Serves as an advisor to individual Members of Council and members of Town boards and committees in relation to the Code of Conduct and any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality governing ethical behaviour, and act as a proactive educator for Council, the Civic Administration and the public.
- Provides annual reports to Council, summarizing activities.
- Provides individual investigative reports, as required, which will include background concerning a complaint and recommendations to Municipal Council with respect to a complaint.
Members of Town Council and local boards and committees are required to follow the Code and Act, which establishes acceptable behaviour and practices of Town officials. Anyone wishing to file a complaint about the conduct or ethical behaviour of any Members of Town Council or members of local boards and committees can contact the Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner is a neutral, independent officer appointed by Council for a two-year term to encourage and oversee compliance with high standards of conduct expected of elected and appointed officials at the Town of Georgina.
The complaint procedures are divided into two methods – informal and formal.
Complainants may choose to use the informal procedure found in the Complaint Protocol for complaints against Members of Council.
This procedure involves:
- advising the Member of Council or Board member that the behaviour or activity contravenes the Code or Act
- encouraging the Member of Council or Board member to stop the behaviour or activity
- keeping a written record of the incident
- confirming satisfaction of dissatisfaction with the Member’s response
The Integrity Commissioner can assist with the informal process if both the parties consent.
Individuals who wish to make formal complaints must do so by submitting a complaint and a sworn affidavit to the Town Clerk’s office. The affidavit may be sworn at the Clerk’s Office located on the main floor of the Georgina Civic Centre, 26557 Civic Centre Road, Keswick, ON L4P 3G1
Formal complaints may be initiated by Town Council or by a Local Board.
Complaints need to set out the basis for the complaint and some personal information. The information collected is required to be kept confidential during the course of an investigation under section 223 of the Municipal Act, 2001. This is subject to whatever information the Integrity Commissioner needs to include in a report to Council on an investigation.
Code of Conduct for Council and municipal board and committee members
The purpose and intent of the Code of Conduct is to establish standards of conduct for Members of Council, Local Boards and Committees in the individual conduct of their official duties. The Code of Conduct was adopted by Georgina Council on November 7, 2018.
Frequently asked questions
The Integrity Commissioner's primary role is to ensure the Code of Conduct (Code) and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M. 50 (Act) is followed.
- addressing any alleged violations against the Code or Act
- assessing requests and complaints made by any person regarding alleged violations of the Code or Act
- educating Council Members and members of Town boards of Committees with respect to obligations and responsibilities under the Code or Act
- outlining recommendations to deal with any violations
Council has adopted a complaint protocol that sets out the Integrity Commissioner’s authority over matters addressed by the Code or Act. The protocol outlines types of complaints that are covered by existing legislation. For example, an allegation violating the Criminal Code of Canada is a police matter – this allegation would not be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner.
Members of the public, Georgina Council and Town employees can file a complaint. More information on filing a complaint can be found under the complaint process.
A complaint can be filed by following the complaint protocol. Complainants may decide to use an informal or formal procedure to file a complaint.
If an informal resolution is unsuccessful, a formal investigation is undertaken. The elected official is given a copy of the complaint and asked to respond in writing, with a copy of this response provided to the complainant. The process may include an interview between the complainant and Integrity Commissioner.
Within 90 days of filing the complaint, the Integrity Commissioner submits a report to Council, detailing any violations of the Code and his/her recommendations. Once the report has been reviewed, Council determines what actions will be taken.
No. The Integrity Commissioner does not have any authority over Town employees. The activities of the Integrity Commissioner are solely related to the Code with respect to Council and Town committee and board behavior and Council only with respect to the Act.
No. The complaint protocol does not allow anonymous complaints or withholding the complainant’s name from the Council Member. However, the protocol does include an informal complaint procedure that allows the Integrity Commissioner to have an informal discussion with the Council Member to resolve the issue. Read more about this procedure and how to file a complaint.
A dedicated webpage has been created on the Town’s website and can be found at georgina.ca/IntegrityCommissioner. All Integrity Commissioner reports will be posted to this page.