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Accountability framework

Accountability framework

The City of Ottawa is committed to conducting City business in an open and transparent manner. Being accountable and transparent means the City is committed to measuring and showing how well we are doing in all the areas for which we are responsible, from financial reports to human resource management to service delivery.

In response to the changes to the Municipal Act, 2001, Ottawa City Council has furthered its commitment to accountability and transparency through the implementation of various integrity officers and additional policies including:

The City of Ottawa has adopted a number of accountability and transparency practices, including:

  • An Employee Code of Conduct
  • An Election-Related Resources Policy
  • Adopting and implementing best practices in the area of budgeting and financial reporting
  • Adopting the “It’s About Accountability” framework in 2004 (such as quarterly financial and purchasing reports and producing a City of Ottawa Annual Report)
  • Developing a multi-year City Corporate Plan and Departmental Business Plans (City Strategic Directions)
  • Producing a comprehensive annual Human Resources Plan
  • Improving customer service with 311 service reporting
  • Adopting the principles of Open Government and establishing the Open Data Ottawa site where the public can access municipal datasets

Freedom of information and protection of privacy

City Council has delegated to the City Clerk the powers and duties associated with the administration of requirements under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

An individual has the right to access information under the custody and control of an institution, including one's own personal information. The City also ensures the protection of personal privacy in its day-to-day operations.

As part of the City’s commitment to accountability and transparency, the City publicly reports on requests received under the MFIPPA that could be of public interest.

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Office of Protocol and Intergovernmental Affairs: Public Disclosure of Expenses

The Office of Protocol and Intergovernmental Affairs publicly reports annually on its events and expenditures.

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Public disclosure of office expenses

As part of their commitment to accountability and transparency, Members of Ottawa City Council and the City's Senior Leadership Team have committed to monthly disclosure of their individual office expenses.

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Open and closed meetings

The Municipal Act, 2001 requires that municipal councils and local boards hold meetings that are open and accessible to the public. The City of Ottawa is a leader in the province in open meetings and has many best-practice open meeting procedures in place. Closed meetings must follow specific requirements. Upon request and review, a Meetings Investigator may investigate a closed meeting.

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Lobbyist registry

The City implemented a public Lobbyist Registry and Lobbyist Code of Conduct to enhance the transparency and integrity of business conducted at City Hall.

Lobbyists are required to register with the Lobbyist Registry and disclose lobbying activities within 15 business days of the communication taking place. The City’s Integrity Commissioner, as the Lobbyist Registrar, is responsible for the enforcement and oversight of the Registry and the Code, and annually reports on its operations.

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Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Related Policies

As part of Council’s Accountability Framework, City Council has established a Code of Conduct for Members of Council, as well as a Council Expense Policy and a Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy. City Council has also established the Code of Conduct for Citizen Members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee and the Code of Conduct for Members of Local Boards. Upon request and review, the Integrity Commissioner may investigate an informal or formal complaint regarding the Codes and related policies.

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Integrity Commissioner

The Integrity Commissioner is an independent and impartial position reporting directly to Council. The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for oversight of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and the Gifts Registry including providing advice to Members of Council, issuing interpretations and reports, investigating complaints and, where necessary, recommending sanctions. The position is also delegated the role of the Lobbyist Registrar and Meetings Investigator.

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Disclosure of executed contracts and reports

As part of its commitment to accountability and transparency, on February 13, 2013, City Council adopted a policy to proactively disclose contract awards that have a value of $100,000 or more and are of significant public interest.

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Municipal Conflict of Interest

The Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the Municipal Act, 2001 together establish an integrated framework for municipal conflict of interest rules. The City maintains a public registry of all declarations of interest filed by Members of Council and members of the City’s local boards. Anyone who believes a member has contravened the conflict of interest rules may apply to the Integrity Commissioner to request an investigation.

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