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Provincial Offences Act - Conflict of Interest Policy

Committee recommendation

That Council approve the program’s Conflict of Interest Policy as outlined in Attachment 1.

Documentation

  1. General Manager, Corporate Services Department report dated 27 March 2001 is immediately attached (ACS2001-CRS-SEC-0023)

Report to Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee and Council

27 March 2001

Ref N°:ACS2001-CRS-SEC-0023

Report recommendation

That the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee recommend Council approve the program’s Conflict of Interest Policy as outlined in Attachment 1.

Background

The Provincial Offences Act (POA) is a procedural statute that prescribed the manner in which offences, including those created under municipal by-laws, are to be administered and prosecuted. In essence, all POA contraventions are dealt with through the issuance of a ticket. The POA prescribes the manner of serving notice of an offence to a defendant, payment periods, method of conducting the trials, sentencing and appeals. The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for the administration of this legislation.

The Legislative Assembly enacted Bill 108, the Streamlining of Administration of Provincial Offences Act, 1997. The Bill amends the Provincial Offences Act to allow the Attorney General to enter into agreements with municipalities permitting them to undertake court administration and support functions. It also provides for the transfer of most prosecutions responsibilities to the local municipality. This Bill was part of the Provincial government overall review dealing with the re-alignment of public service delivery.

Prior to the start of the amalgamation process, some urban municipalities and the Region had obtained Council approval to initiate preparations for this transfer of jurisdiction. With the emergence of the local government re-structuring exercise as the overriding priority in the past year, no substantial progress was achieved on this project. With the creation of the “new” City of Ottawa, project personnel are working in an expeditious fashion with the Ministry of the Attorney General to bring this project to a successful conclusion.

Discussion or analysis

Part of the transfer requirements stipulated by the Ministry of the Attorney General include the enactment of a Council approved policy dealing with the matter of conflict of interest within the context of the administration and prosecution of POA infractions. Attachment 1 outlines the proposed policy. The proposed policy reflects closely the standard that has been employed in many other municipalities that have already assumed responsibility for this program.

The principles of the POA conflict of interest policy are as follows:

  • All persons involved in the administration and prosecutions of the Provincial Offences Court shall endeavour to carry out such duties in a manner that upholds the integrity, fairness and impartiality of the administration of justice;
  • No person shall attempt to influence or interfere, either directly or indirectly, with any employee or other persons performing duties in the administration of justice; and
  • The policy applies to employees or officers of the City of Ottawa, persons contracting with the Corporation for the performance of duties under the transfer Agreement and elected officials.

Consultation

The policy was prepared by the office of the City Clerk in consultation with the City Solicitor. The Ministry of the Attorney General has reviewed the policy and has confirmed that it will meet the requirements.

Financial implications

There are no direct financial implications associated with the approval of these recommendations.

Attachments

Attachment 1 – Draft POA Conflict of Interest Policy.

Disposition

City Clerk and City Solicitor to implement the POA Conflict of Interest Policy.

Attachment 1

Conflict of Interest Policy

Pursuant to the Transfer of Administration Support Provincial Offence

WHEREAS the Ministry of Attorney General requires all Municipal Partners to establish a Council approved Conflict of Interest Policy specifically detailed to address matters relevant to the administration of the Provincial Offences Act (POA) program;

WHEREAS the administration of the Provincial Offences Court by the Municipal Partner pursuant to the Transfer Agreement must be conducted in accordance with fundamental principles of justice, which include judicial and prosecutorial independence, fairness, impartiality, competence and integrity;

WHEREAS the policy shall apply to employees, officers, elected representatives and to any person contracting with The Corporation of the City of Ottawa for the performance of services under the Transfer Agreement;

THEREFORE, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor are directed to implement the Conflict of Interest Policy, as set out below, for all matters relating to the administration of the Provincial Offences Court in the Court Service Area of Ottawa;

1.0 Principles of Conflict of Interest Policy

1.1 Conflict of Interest Policy shall apply to all employees, officers, elected representatives of The Corporation of the City of Ottawa and to any person contracting with The Corporation of the City of Ottawa for the performance of services under the Transfer Agreement.

1.2 No person shall attempt to influence or interfere, either directly or indirectly, financially, politically or otherwise with employees, officers or other persons performing duties under the transfer Agreement.

1.3 All persons involved with the administration and prosecution functions of the Provincial Offences Court shall endeavour to carry out such duties in a manner which upholds the integrity of the administration of justice.

2.0 Oath of Office

2.1 All employees involved with the administration functions shall swear or affirm an oath as established by the City Solicitor in accordance with this policy.

2.2 All municipal prosecutors engaging in prosecutions under the Transfer Agreement shall swear or affirm an oath as established by the City Solicitor in accordance with this policy.

3.0 Obligation to Report

3.1 Any person performing duties under the Transfer Agreement shall report any attempt at improper influence to the Municipal Partner or local Crown Attorney.

3.2 No action shall be taken against the person for making any such report in good faith.

3.3 An employee or other person performing duties under the Transfer Agreement contacted by an elected official with respect to the administration of justice and matters before the court shall immediately disclose such contact to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.4 Where an employee or other person performing duties under the Transfer Agreement has been charged with an offence created under a federal statute or regulation or a provincial statute or regulation, and where continuing to perform his or her duties may erode public confidence in the administration of justice, the charge shall be disclosed to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.5 Upon notification, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor shall determine if any actual or perceived conflict of interest exists and, if so, shall take appropriate action to address the conflict.

3.6 A prosecutor shall disclose any actual or reasonably perceived conflict as soon as possible to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.7 Where a prosecutor is charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada or any other federal statute or regulation that is dealt with under the Criminal Code of Canada, such charge shall be disclosed to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor forthwith.

3.8 Where a prosecutor is charged with an offence under other federal statutes or regulations thereunder or a provincial statute or regulation thereunder and where continuing to perform his or her duties may erode public confidence in the administration of justice, the charge shall be disclosed to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.9 The City Clerk and the City Solicitor shall determine if any actual or perceived conflict exists and, if so, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor shall take appropriate action to address the conflict.

4.0 Prosecution Guidelines

4.1 Prosecutors acting under the terms of the Transfer Agreement, in addition to the above, shall adhere to the following conflict of interest guidelines:

4.1.1 A person employed as a prosecutor shall not also be employed as an enforcement officer;

4.1.2 A prosecutor shall be supervised by or report to the City Solicitor or another lawyer designated for this purpose;

4.1.3 A prosecutor shall not hold or have held a municipal political office within the preceding 12 months;

4.1.4 A prosecutor shall not be placed or place him or herself in a position where the integrity of the administration of justice could be compromised; and

4.1.5 A prosecutor shall not, personally or through any partner in the practice of law act or be directly or indirectly involved as counsel or solicitor for any person in respect of any offence charged against the person under the laws in force in Ontario, unless it relates to his/her own case.

5.0 Implementation

5.1 All elected representatives of the City of Ottawa shall be provided with a copy of this policy following the conduct of a regular or by-election.

5.2 This policy shall be incorporated into the Human Resources policies with governing the conduct of municipal employees.

5.3 All personnel involved in the administration of the POA program shall be supplied with a copy of this policy.

6.0 Breach

6.1 Breach of this policy by any employee or officer of the City may result in disciplinary action.

Accountability and Transparency Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: November 28, 2007
Effective Date: November 28, 2007
Revision Date: December 3, 2014

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa will promote accountable and transparent municipal governance guided by the following principles:

  1. Decision-making will be open and transparent.
  2. Municipal operations will be conducted in an ethical and accountable manner.
  3. Financial resources and physical infrastructure will be managed in an efficient and effective manner.
  4. Municipal information will be accessible so that it is consistent with legislative requirements.
  5. Inquiries, concerns and complaints will be responded to in a timely manner.
  6. Financial oversight, service standards and performance reporting and all other accountability documents will be made available and accessible, in language that the public can understand, to increase the opportunity for public scrutiny and involvement in municipal operations.
  7. Every new delegation of power or authority will have a corresponding accountability mechanism.

Definitions

Accountability – The principle that the municipality is obligated to demonstrate and take responsibility for its actions, decisions and policies and that it is answerable to the public at large.

Transparency – The principle that the municipality will conduct its business in an accessible, clear and visible manner and that its activities are open to examination by its stakeholders.

Purpose

This policy provides guidance on how the City of Ottawa ensures municipal matters are approached in an accountable and transparent manner, with emphasis on openness, ethics, performance outcomes and fiscal responsibility.

Application

As required by Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, this policy applies to all City of Ottawa operations.

Policy requirements

The City of Ottawa’s commitment to accountability and transparency ensures sound governance and sustainability by way of various policies, procedures and practices that have been divided into the following categories:

1. Legislated requirements

The City of Ottawa is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by fulfilling various legislated responsibilities and disclosure of information. The following are provincial statutes that govern how the City conducts its business in a public, accountable and transparent manner:

  1. Municipal Act, 2001
  2. Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
  3. Provincial Offences Act
  4. Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  5. Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004
  6. Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996
  7. Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009

2. Financial accountability, oversight and reporting

The City of Ottawa is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by identifying the source of City funds and how those funds are used to deliver services. The following policies, procedures and practices demonstrate the City of Ottawa’s best-practice financial accountability and oversight and reporting mechanisms, including:

  1. External Auditor and report
  2. Auditor General’s Office and Annual Report
  3. Annual and Quarterly Financial Statements
  4. Long Range Financial Plan
  5. Operating and Capital Budget Status Reports
  6. Delegation of Authority By-law and Reports
  7. Purchasing By-law and Reports
  8. FTE Analysis Report

3. Performance measurement and reporting

The City of Ottawa is accountable to taxpayers by using various results-orientated tools to measure progress on performance and the achievement of corporate service standards and goals. The City of Ottawa is committed to producing performance information that measures how the City is doing in all areas over which it has responsibility, from financial reporting to human resource management to service delivery, including:

  1. City Strategic Plan and related performance reports
  2. Semi-Annual Performance Reports to Council
  3. Participating in the Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative
  4. Participating in the Quality of Life Reporting System (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)

4. Open government

The City of Ottawa is accountable and transparent to taxpayers by providing governance in an open manner through communication, consultation, and collaboration. The following are policies, procedures and practices that ensure the City is transparent in its operations and residents are aware of how decisions are made and carried out:

  1. Council Procedure By-law
  2. Public Distribution of Council and Committee Agenda Meeting Documentation
  3. Appointment Policy (Recruitment and Selection of members of Advisory Committees, Boards and Task Forces, and External Boards, Commissions and Authorities)
  4. Public Notice By-law
  5. Delegation of Powers Policy/Delegation of Authority By-law
  6. Bilingualism Policy
  7. Public Engagement Strategy
  8. Accessible Formats and Communication Supports Procedure
  9. Enhancements to open meeting procedures including a process of rising and reporting following closed sessions, indicating either the date a confidential report can be made public or a legal opinion indicating why the report cannot be made public and proactively making confidential reports public upon the reporting out date
  10. Routine Disclosure and Active Dissemination Policy
  11. Adherence to the principles of Open Government, including making data available through Open Data Ottawa
  12. Proactive disclosure of executed contracts with a value of $100,000 or more that were not a result of public procurement, as well as contracts resulting from a public procurement exercise that are of significant public interest
  13. Annual proactive disclosure of events hosted by the Office of Protocol, as well as gifts presented on behalf of the City through the Office of Protocol

5. Internal accountability and ethical standards

The City of Ottawa has established policies, procedures and practices that govern internal accountability and ethical standards for the City of Ottawa, including:

  1. Code of Conduct for City employees
  2. Code of Conduct for Advisory Committee Members
  3. Code of Conduct for Members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee
  4. Hiring and Employment of Family Members Policy
  5. Responsible Computing Policy
  6. Election-Related Resources Policy
  7. Harassment in the Workplace Policy
  8. Violence in the Workplace Policy
  9. Equity and Diversity Policy
  10. Records Management Policy

6. City Council’s Accountability Framework

Ottawa City Council has furthered its commitment to accountability and transparency through the implementation of various integrity officers and additional policies and practices: 

  1. The proactive disclosure of the office expenses of Members of Council;
  2. The appointment of an Integrity Commissioner to whom Council has also designated the role of Lobbyist Registrar and Meetings Investigator;
  3. The adoption of a Code of Conduct for Members of Council; 
  4. The quarterly disclosure by Members of Council in an online Gifts Registry of all gifts, benefits and hospitality received which individually exceed $100 from one source in a calendar year (save for some exceptions);
  5. The quarterly disclosure by Members of Council in an online Gifts Registry of all tickets received which individually exceed $30 from one source in a calendar year (save for some exceptions);
  6. The adoption of a Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy and a Council Expense Policy;
  7. The enactment of a Lobbyist Registry By-law including a Lobbyist Code of Conduct, and the establishment of a Lobbyist Registry; and
  8. Integrity Commissioner’s Annual Report.

Responsibilities

City Council and City staff are responsible for adhering to the parameters of this policy and for ensuring accountability for their actions and transparency of municipal operations.

Monitoring/contraventions

The City Clerk shall be responsible for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this policy. Upon receipt of a complaint and/or concern, the City Clerk shall notify:

  1. In the case of staff, the Department Head, General Manager or Director responsible for the area and the Director, Human Resources
  2. In the case of a closed meeting, the Meetings Investigator
  3. In the case of Council, the Head of Council.

Legislative and administrative authorities

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 as amended by Bill 130 requires that the City adopt and maintain a policy with respect to ensuring accountability and transparency. The Accountability and Transparency Policy identifies the legislation, policies, procedures and practices that the City complies with in order to promote accountability and transparency.

Enquiries

Office of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Telephone: 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Advisory Committees Participation Expense Policy

Approved By: City Council
Approval Date: March 28, 2001
Effective Date: March 28, 2001
Revision Approved By: City Council
Revision/Review Date: December 5, 2018

Policy Statement

The Participation Expense Policy is a City of Ottawa policy regarding reimbursement of expenses incurred by voting members and reserve members of Advisory Committees

Purpose

The purpose of the Advisory Committee Participation Expense policy is to clearly define what expenses shall be reimbursed, under what conditions, to whom, and what if any minimum or maximum amounts apply to ensure all members clearly understand what is or is not considered a legitimate expense.

Application

This policy applies to Council appointed Advisory Committee Voting Members and Reserve Members.  In certain circumstances and outlined within the policy Subcommittee Members are covered.

Policy Requirements

1.0 Reimbursement Policy

Upon submission of an original receipt, all voting members deemed present in the approved minutes of the meeting are authorized to receive reimbursement based on the following:

1.1. Parking expenses incurred to attend official meetings are eligible.  The preferred method of payment for parking expenses at City facilities is via a parking stamp.

1.2. Dependant Care expenses incurred to attend official meetings will be eligible on the following basis: up to a maximum of $14.00/hour. The amount payable will be calculated by the official start and end time of the meeting plus up to a maximum of one hour for traveling time. Reimbursement for dependant care on a per person basis will not be eligible.

1.3. Specialized Dependant care expenses (for persons with exceptional needs) incurred to attend official meetings will be eligible on the following basis: up to a maximum of $40.00/hour. The amount payable will be calculated by the official start and end time of the meeting plus up to a maximum of one hour for traveling time.

1.4. Conventional transit fare / Para Transpo fare to and from official meetings will be eligible. However, the Participation Expense Policy does not reimburse Advisory Committee members for monthly conventional transit passes or monthly ParaPasses. The amounts reimbursed will be solely for any single-use or cash fares paid.  

1.4.1    A bus transfer or copy of a Presto e-Purse usage report must be provided as proof of payment for a conventional transit fare. Upon receipt of this proof of payment, the City of Ottawa shall reimburse the member.

1.4.2    A copy of a ParaPurse usage report must be provided as proof of payment for a Para Transpo fare. If the Committee member uses cash to pay, they must provide the respective Committee Coordinator with details of the trip in writing (including client number, date, time, pick-up and drop-off locations) so that these details can be validated with and a proof of payment obtained from Para Transpo Customer Service. Upon receipt of this proof of payment, the Committee Coordinator will reimburse the Advisory Committee member at the subsequent meeting.

1.5. As an accommodation for members with mobility limitations that would ordinarily take Para Transpo, reimbursement of an Accessible Taxi or Private Transportation Company (PTC) fare will be provided if a member is unable to secure Para Transpo. Proof of payment must be provided.

1.6. Mileage for members using a personal vehicle to attend official meetings will be eligible at the rate provided to City of Ottawa staff (currently the rate of $0.54/km).

1.7. Reimbursement for meals or refreshments or other out of pocket expenses not provided for within this policy will not be eligible.

1.8. Reimbursement for meetings with Community Groups, Members of Council, staff, citizens or otherwise are not eligible for reimbursement, unless provided for under this policy.  Some form of reimbursement may be available from the meeting's host.  Some exceptions will be made for the Chairs (see section i(d) under "Definitions").

1.9 Reimbursement for other expenses incurred to perform the duties of the members will not be eligible, including, but not limited to, reimbursement for office supplies, technology or telephone expenses etc.

1.10 Members are expected to consider the most economical modes of travel as may be practical for their particular situation.

2.0 Limitations of the Policy

2.1. The staff of the Office of the City Clerk reserve the right to review and/or refuse any expenses submitted by a voting or reserve citizen member for reimbursement, with reasonable cause and justification

2.2. If it can be proven that a member is submitting fraudulent claims for participation expenses the City of Ottawa, the Office of the City Clerk reserves the right to either:

2.2.1.  Refuse to reimburse the specific individual; and/or

2.2.2.  Refer the incident to Corporate Security or the appropriate authorities.

Responsibilities

Advisory Committee Members must provide an original receipt before he/she will be reimbursed.

All Committee Coordinators are responsible for enforcing the policy and for ensuring each Advisory Committee member including Reserve Members are fully aware of the policy.

In the event of a dispute, the City Clerk, or their designate, shall review the request and advise the requesting member of his/her final decision.

Monitoring/Contraventions

All reimbursement claims are submitted on a form, which must be authorized for payment by the Program Manager, Committee and Council Services.

The Office of the City Clerk also reserves the right to monitor and audit claims on an ad-hoc basis to ensure the policy is being applied consistently and to assist in ensuring reimbursement requests are not fraudulent in nature.

Any suspected fraudulent claims shall be referred to the City’s Corporate Security office – and/or other appropriate authority(ies).

Failure to comply with this reimbursement criteria (original receipts, etc.) may deem the claim void.

References

N/A

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

  • Proposed Advisory and Quasi-Judicial Committee and Task Force Structure (ACS2001-CRS-SEC-0016) as approved by City Council March 28, 2001
  • Status of External Boards, Commissions and Authorities  (ACS2001-CRS-SEC-0015) as approved by City Council March 28, 2001
  • Status of External Boards, Commissions and Authorities – Update (ACS2002-CRS-SEC-0015) as approved by City Council April 10, 2002
  • Annual Review of Advisory Committees – Structure, Policies and Process (ACS2002-CRS-SEC-0061) as approved by City Council August 28, 2002
  • Council Governance Review – 2003-2006 Council (ACS2003-CRS-SEC-0059) as approved by City Council December 3, 2003 and December 10, 2003.
  • Advisory Committee Procedure By-law, Appointment Policy and Participation Expense Policy Mid-Term Review (ACS2006-CRS-SEC-0005) as approved by City Council January 25, 2006.
  • 2006-2010 Council Governance Review (ACS2006-CMO-OCM-0012) as approved by City Council December 6, 2006
  • 2010-2014 Council Governance Review (ACS2010-CMR-CCB-0106) as approved by City Council December 8, 2010
  •  Advisory Committee Renewal to Support Term of Council Priorities (ACS2012-CMR-CCB-0032) Council September 12, 2012
  • 2018-2022 Council Governance Review (ACS2018-CCS-GEN-0028) as approved by City Council December 5, 2018

Definitions

i.      Official Meeting: is defined as one of the following:

a.    the one quarterly meeting of the Advisory Committee,

b.    any official subcommittee/working group meeting as approved by the advisory committee,

c.    a meeting of any Advisory Committee to which a member has been appointed as a liaison member;

d.    a meeting where a motion and/or minutes exist(s) that show the member was specifically requested to attend on behalf of the Committee on a day and time outside of a regularly scheduled Advisory Committee meeting.

e.    a Standing Committee meeting where an official designate of the Advisory Committee makes presentation to said standing committee; or

f.     where any one member has been officially appointed by the Committee to represent the views of the Committee at a conference, speaking engagement, etc.

ii.    Attendance: A Citizen voting member shall be deemed present if the accepted minutes of the meeting so indicate. Where the request for reimbursement is for a subcommittee/working group meeting at which there is no Committee Coordinator present, the Minutes need only contain the date, start time and duration, location, a list of attendees and topics discussed. One voting member of the Committee shall be deemed responsible to record the time, date, topics discussed and attendance at the meeting and forward the information to the Committee Coordinator.

iii.   Dependant care with exceptional needs:  A dependant is deemed to have exceptional needs if the member provides a certificate signed by a doctor, which states that the dependant requires specialized care during the member's absence from the home.  This clause allows for the reimbursement of dependant care expenses in excess of the normally permitted $14.00 per hour maximum. This exception is available for people caring for children or adults requiring special care, (e.g. a partner, parent or adult child).

iv.   Disabled persons' expense: is defined as an expense, which must be incurred in order to provide a service without which the Member cannot participate in the meeting, (e.g. intervenors, interpreters, real-time captioning or Braille text) because of the Member's disability.

v.    Bus Fare/Para Transpo Fare: Reimbursement shall be provided for any extra bus fare incurred by a member to attend the meeting.  Bus transfer or receipt is deemed as acceptable proof of payment.

vi.   Mileage: Mileage shall be calculated by the Committee Coordinator on the basis of the shortest distance to and from the meeting from work, home, or the next closest destination of the member.

vii.  Parking: Any long or short-term placement of a personal vehicle in a monitored or unmonitored area. Because a receipt is necessary for any reimbursement, parking meters that do not produce a physical proof of purchase are not eligible for reimbursement, nor will parking tickets incurred as a result of meeting attendance be reimbursed.

viii. Reserve Member: means a citizen who has been pre-approved but not appointed as an Advisory Committee member during the selection process and placed on a list of reserve members who may be called upon should there be a vacancy on the committee for which they are on the reserve list.  Although a Reserve Member may ask and be granted permission by an Advisory Committee to participate in a meeting, that reserve member does not have the authority or powers of a sitting citizen member in that he or she cannot vote at meetings, is not an official representative of a committee however is eligible for coverage under the City's Expense Policy (Participation in Advisory Committee meetings is purely voluntary and one's choice to not attend meetings does not disqualify him or her from being called upon to replace a vacancy nor does it adversely affect one's application to become a sitting citizen member at a later date).

ix. Sub-Committee/Working Group Member: is a citizen who is not an Advisory Committee Member, but who has been invited by the Committee to participate on an Advisory Committee Sub-committee/Working Group for his or her unique set of skills or expertise, which otherwise do not exist within the current Committee's complement. These members are eligible for reimbursement of "disabled person's expense."

Enquiries

For more information on this policy, contact:

Program Manager, Committee and Council Services
Office of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue, West
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1
613-580- 2424 – Ext. 28136

Appendices

N/A

Appointment Policy – Citizen Members of City Advisory Committees, Boards and Task Forces, and External Boards, Commissions and Authorities

Approved By: City Council
Approval Date: March 28, 2001
Effective Date: December 9, 2020
Revision Approved By: City Council
Revision/Review Date: December 9 2020

Policy Statement

The Appointment Policy governs the recruitment and selection process for all Council-appointed citizen members to various City of Ottawa committees, boards, task forces, sub-committees, commissions and quasi-judicial committees, as well as external boards and commissions.

Purpose

The City of Ottawa is committed to equitable and inclusive participation of the public in boards and committees and other bodies that govern and inform the work of the City. It therefore seeks diverse representation on all of these bodies that reflects the demography of the City of Ottawa.

To encourage participation, the City will adopt proactive communications, policies and targeted recruitment strategies aligned to the general concepts of accessibility, equity and diversity to ensure that all citizens have equal opportunity to serve as members on City committees, boards, task forces, sub-committees, commissions and quasi-judicial committees, as well as external boards and commissions. This is adopted with the purpose of reflecting Ottawa’s diverse demography inclusive of Indigenous peoples, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, women and gender diverse people, members of the LGBTQ+ communities, Francophones and speakers of other language groups, and people from rural and urban locations.

Application

The following applies for the citizen appointments by City Council to City committees, boards, task forces, sub-committees, commissions and quasi-judicial committees, as well as external boards and commissions where Council is required to make such appointments.

Policy Requirements

Qualifications of members

  1.  
  1. All Council-appointees must be residents of the City of Ottawa and must maintain this qualification during their term of office.
  2. All Council-appointees must be at least 18 years of age.
  3. Full time permanent employees of the City of Ottawa are not eligible for positions as citizen members on any City committee or board where Council is required to make such appointments.

Term of office

  1.  
    1. The term of office is generally two or four years and membership is tied to the Term of Council.  Members are eligible to serve the greater of two consecutive terms or eight consecutive years on the same committee or board (a maximum of 8 years) subject to section 2.2 and 2.5.
    2. A person appointed to fill a partially completed term is appointed to the end of that term of office. Such a member, if appointed for an interim term not exceeding one year, may be eligible for reappointment for two full terms.
    3. Applicants are required to sit out at least one year after serving two consecutive terms, before being eligible for reappointment on the same committee or board, although may apply to serve on another Committee during that time.
    4. Those members who wish to be reappointed to an additional term must reapply and go through the approved selection process.
    5. The restriction on term limits does not apply to appointments to Conservation Authorities (Report ACS2006-CRS-CCB-0005 approved by Council January 25, 2006)
    6. Citizen members may serve on only one committee or board at any one time.
    7. Members continue to serve on a committee/board past the expiration of their term until they are re-appointed or replaced (subject to the end-of-term governance review).
    8. Terms of office, qualifications and membership on some external boards, commissions and authorities or quasi-judicial committees may differ as specifically outlined under statute or by-law, which would take precedence over this policy.
    9. In the case of City of Ottawa Advisory Committees, in order to accept and retain their membership with the Advisory Committee, each member is required to attend at least one (1) orientation session as well as read and sign the Advisory Committee members’ Code of Conduct.

Composition

  1.  
    1. The membership of City committees, boards, task forces, sub-committees, commissions and quasi-judicial committees, as well as external boards and commissions shall, as much as possible, achieve a balance between a variety of technical expertise and other representation.
    2. As much as possible, the membership should reflect the diversity and demographics of the City of Ottawa in such areas as gender, official language, geographical representation, race and disability.
    3. Appointments should be undertaken with a view to achieving the City of Ottawa’s goal to have a 50 per cent representation of women on all City Advisory Committees.

Recruitment

  1.  
    1. The recruitment for the City’s committees, boards, task forces, sub-committees, commissions and quasi-judicial committees, as well as external boards and commissions for which members are required, shall be held early in each Term of Council and again at approximately mid-term.
    2. The principles of equity and accommodation for all candidates shall be adopted and implemented by enforcing application deadlines, selection criteria, and interviewing procedures using the same questions and same evaluation criteria for all candidates.
    3. The recruitment and selection process for citizen members will include advertisements for interested applicants placed by the Office of the City Clerk, in the daily and/or weekly community newspapers in accordance with the City’s advertising policy as well as on the City’s website.  Advertisements will also be distributed throughout Client Service Centres and libraries.  In addition, for specific committees, an effort will be made to tailor the recruitment process specifically, but not exclusively, to the particular groups that are potential members.
    4. The advertisements may include the following information:
      1. Function or brief mandate statement of the entities for which recruitment is taking place;
      2. Frequency and time of meetings and where possible any other expectations for participation of members;
      3. City policies that guide the selection process or the operation of the Committee;
      4. Anticipated time commitment;
      5. Information on how to submit an application;
      6. A request for applicants to either select one committee/board of interest, or to prioritize the committees/boards of interest; and
      7. Indication that an individual can be appointed to serve on only one committee, board, task force, sub-committee, commission or quasi-judicial committee, external board or commission at a time.
    5. Applications
      1. All applications must outline how the applicant’s qualifications, specific skills, interests and background are relevant to the committee. They may include a statement of work, life and educational experience and/or a resume.
      2. All applications will be sent to the Office of the City Clerk to be processed.
      3. All applications will be acknowledged by the Office of the City Clerk.
      4. An initial screening of applications will be conducted. Only those meeting the qualifications set out in Section 1 will be brought forward to the next stage.
      5. All applications must be received by the published deadline in order to be considered.
      6. Applicants shall be encouraged to apply for only the committees/boards they wish to serve on rather than applying to many or all.
      7. Should an applicant choose to apply to more than one committee/board, they will be requested to prioritize their preferences.
    6. Selection
      1. At the outset of each new term of Council, City Council, upon recommendation of the Nominating Committee, will appoint a minimum of two members of Council to sit on each Selection Panel to review applications and make recommendations to Council. If necessary throughout the term of Council, the applicable Standing Committee or the Nominating Committee will recommend Selection Panel members to City Council.
      2. The Committee Coordinator for the Committee will provide advice and assistance to the Selection Panel.
      3. Each Selection Panel shall meet to determine selection criteria based on the specific expertise needed by the committee, board, external board or commission and the need to reflect the community as detailed under the entity’s composition, prepare questions to be asked of each candidate during interviews, and review applications based on these criteria to determine which applicants will be interviewed. It is recommended that each Selection Panel shall be required to conduct interviews when considering the appointment of new candidates to a committee or board as well as those who may be applying for re-appointment. In the case of members applying for re-appointment, the Selection Panel may choose to waive the interview requirement.
      4. The Selection Panel shall recommend appointments as well as a reserve list of people who could be appointed should a vacancy occur before the end of a term.
        1. The reserve list shall be maintained until the next advertisement for vacancies for that particular committee or board. The number of reserve members shall be at the discretion of the Selection Panel.
        2. Should a vacancy occur before the end of a term, the selection panel will meet again to select a candidate from the reserve list, with a view to maintaining the appropriate demographic and skill balance on the committee as whole;
      5. The Office of the City Clerk shall forward the Selection Panel recommendations through a public report to the relevant Standing Committee and Council (or Finance and Economic Development Committee if there is no assigned Standing Committee).
      6. The Office of the City Clerk shall advise all applicants of the status of their applications.
      7. Should the Selection Panel receive insufficient applications to fill the number of vacancies, the Selection Panel may request the Office of the City Clerk extend the application deadline and/or undertake a targeted recruitment process (outreach to specific organizations).

Attendance

  1.  
    1. Any member of a City committee, board, task force, sub-committee, commission, quasi-judicial committee, external board or commission who is absent from two (2) consecutive regularly scheduled meetings of the committee, shall be contacted by the committee/board Coordinator to confirm his/her commitment.
    2. Should the member miss another consecutive meeting, without being authorized to do so by a resolution of the Committee, the seat shall be declared vacant and the selection panel shall choose a  qualified reserve member for that committee/board to fill the vacancy.
    3. If no reserve members remain to fill the position, then the seat shall remain vacant until the next recruitment process. Recruitment shall only be undertaken at another time than the normal process if the number of members on the committee falls to one above quorum, or there is a need to fill vacancies on numerous committees/boards in that the associated costs and staff resources are justified.
    4. For record and information purposes, the Committee Coordinator will prepare and distribute an “Information Previously Distributed” memorandum to the applicable Standing Committee noting the appointment of the reserve member as a full voting member.

Subcommittees/working groups

  1.  
    1. City advisory committees and boards may create subcommittees or working groups to work on specific areas of their mandate. These subcommittees or working groups may be comprised of non-members of the committee/board and do not require Council approval of the appointment. However, the subcommittee must have a minimum of one-third of the members as voting committee members of the main committee or board.
    2. Minimal administrative support will be provided to subcommittees and is limited to booking rooms and the provision of material if necessary.

Exceptions

  1.  
    1. This Policy shall not apply to incorporated boards where the City is the sole-shareholder (ex. Hydro, Ottawa Community Housing Corporation, Ottawa Community Land Development Corporation) or to boards where the Mayor is delegated the authority to make nominations (ex. Ottawa Airport Authority)
    2. Certain provisions of this Policy may not apply where they are in conflict with the requirements set out in legislation, including but not limited to the Public Libraries Act, Police Services Act and the Conservation Authorities Act.

Responsibilities

The Office of the City Clerk is responsible for the administration of appointments to Advisory Committees, Boards and Task Forces, and External Boards, Commissions and Authorities, in accordance with this policy. Selection Panels are responsible for reviewing and make recommendations to Council in accordance with this policy.

Monitoring/Contraventions

Failure to comply with this policy may result in inconsistent response, coordination and appointment of citizen members on City of Ottawa committees, boards, task forces, sub-committees, commissions and quasi-judicial committees, as well as external boards and commissions. Inconsistent application may hinder the objectives of open, accessible and impartial practice with respect to citizen appointments.

References

N/A

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

  • 2018-2022 Council Governance Review (ACS2018-CCS-GEN-0028) as approved by City Council December 5, 2018
  • 2018-2022 Mid-term Governance Review (ACS2020-OCC-GEN-0006) as approved by City Council on December 9, 2020

Definitions

N/A

Enquiries

Enquiries should be directed to:

Office of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue, West
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 28136

Appendices

N/A

Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: City Clerk
Approval Date: May 8, 2013
Effective Date: July 1, 2013
Revision Date: February 1, 2021 (Housekeeping revisions)

Scope

This policy supplements the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and the Council Expense Policy and is not intended to affect the entitlement of a Member of Council to:

  • Use her or his Constituency Services Budget to run or support community events subject to the terms of the Council Expense Policy;
  • Urge constituents, businesses and other groups to support community events staged by others in the Member’s Ward or elsewhere in the City;
  • Play an advisory or membership role in any organization staging community events in the Member’s Ward; and
  • Participate with the City and its agencies in staging of community events.

Council Member-Organized Community Events

There are cases where Members seek and receive donations or sponsorships to organize events that benefit their ward, the city or a local charity. For the purposes of this and related policies, these are termed ‘benevolent activities’. Where Members undertake a benevolent activity, Members shall:

  • Open a City account with the Manager, Council Support Services;
  • Account for all funds, goods and services donated, including a list of all individuals and organizations who donated;
  • Account for all expenses and distributions undertaken for that activity;
  • Not solicit or accept donations from lobbyist or their clients or their employees with active registrations in the Lobbyist Registry without pre-approval from the Integrity Commissioner;
  • Not use any funds, goods or services received for the benevolent activity for any other purpose;
  • Report on these activities as part of Public Disclosure on an annual basis in recognition of the fact that preparation for a benevolent activity can take several months; and
  • In an election year, a Member of Council must not seek donations and sponsorships for any event that has not been staged in the previous two years nor accept donations or stage any new event supported by donations and sponsorships after he or she has filed nomination papers for election to any office in the City of Ottawa. Exemptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis with the approval of the Integrity Commissioner.
    An event is considered to have been staged in the previous two years if it meets the following criteria:
    • has a very similar, if not the same, event name/title
    • takes place at approximately the same time
    • has the same general purpose;
  • In the case of repeat annual events, a reasonable operational amount may carry over to a subsequent year; and
  • At end of a Member’s term, any funds remaining in such accounts shall revert to the appropriate charity or organization or to the Council Administration Budget in the same manner as a surplus of a Member’s Constituency Budget as the case may be.

Support for Benevolent Activities and Events

Members of Council are called upon to assist and support various charities, service clubs, and other non-profit and community-based associations. For example, Members support their communities in a variety of ways including, but not limited to:

  • accepting honourary roles in organizations;
  • lending their names to organization and events to assist in fundraising; and
  • encouraging community and corporate donations to registered charitable, not-for-profit, or other community-based groups.

As civic leaders and public office holders, Members of Council supporting community endeavours and projects must also exhibit transparency with their involvement and carry out their community service in a manner that promotes public confidence. Members of Council shall not use the influence their office for any other purpose than the lawful exercise of their official duties and for municipal purposes.

When considering whether to support a third party by organizing a fundraiser or benevolent event Members of Council shall disclose all material facts to the Integrity Commissioner and obtain a written opinion from the Integrity Commissioner approving the activity, which concludes that the Member does not have a conflict between his/her private interest and public duty.

In circumstances where the Integrity Commissioner has provided a written opinion approving the activity, the Member shall:

  • Ensure that they or their staffs do not directly solicit any funds, nor that they receive any funds that are solicited by the organization;
  • Ensure that all donations shall be payable directly the organization and all in kind donations will go directly to the organization;
  • Ensure that their commitment and support does not require significant staff time and/or City resources;
  • Not participate directly in decisions on the disbursement of funds or in the determination of the beneficiaries of the funds and remain at arm’s length from the financial aspects of these external events without pre-approval from the Integrity Commissioner; and
  • Ensure that if more than $25,000 in funds net of expenses is raised, the organization is encouraged to publicly disclose audited statements, which should include a list of receipts, expenses, donors and disbursements to beneficiaries.

Council Expense Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: City Clerk
Approval Date: May 8, 2013
Effective Date: July 1, 2013
Revision Date: February 1, 2021 (Housekeeping revisions)

Policy Overview

The Council Expense Policy provides guidance to Members of Council on expenditures that support the Member in fulfilling their statutory duties as an elected official. A Constituency Services Budget is intended to provide Members of Council (Members) with the resources to:

  • Administer their offices at City Hall and in their wards to support their role;
  • To conduct meetings and communicate with their constituents and other stakeholders;
  • Support and promote activities or community groups within their ward and in the community at large; and
  • Represent the City at functions, events or conferences.

The policy is intended to:

  • Provide Members of Council with the flexibility to allocate resources in the most efficient way to meet their own particular requirements;
  • Clarify the processes that Members and their staff use to administer their budgets by simplifying and outlining the rules; and
  • Recognize Members’ accountability for managing City resources allocated to them.

The following principles should be applied when interpreting this policy:

  1. Autonomy of Council
  • City Council, as the decision-making body of the City, is separate and distinct from the City administration; and
  • The autonomy of Council is provided for in the Municipal Act, 2001.
  1. Integrity of Council
  • The integrity of City Council as a whole and the offices of the Members must be protected; and
  • The interest of City Council as a whole takes precedence over the personal interest of individual Members of Council.
  1. Accountability
  • Members are the stewards of City resources and are ultimately accountable to the public and their constituents for the type and level of expenses they incur;
  • Since Members use public funds when they perform their duties, the public expects public funds to be used solely for fulfillment of their public duties;
  • Members’ expenses should be reasonable and reflect what the public expects of an elected official; and
  • Members’ business expenses and personal expenses must be kept separate.
  1. Transparency
  • The public has a right to know how public funds allocated to Members are spent; and
  • The public’s right to Members’ expense information must be balanced against the need to protect privacy and personal information, and allow time for proper accounting and reconciliation of expenses.
  1. Flexibility and Limits
  • Members require flexibility to perform their roles, operate their offices and pursue their public interests;
  • Members engage their communities differently;
  • Expenditures must not conflict with rules set out in other related legislation and polices (e.g. Election-Related Resources Policy); and
  • All accounting, audit and Income Tax Act principles and rules must be followed.

Exemptions to this Policy may be granted in writing by the City Clerk, in consultation with the Integrity Commissioner as necessary.

Guiding Legislation

The guiding legislation for the Council Expense Policy is the Municipal Act, 2001. Section 224 of the Act describes the role of City Council:

  • To represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality;
  • To develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the municipality;
  • To determine which services the municipality provides;
  • To ensure that administrative policies, practices and procedures and controllership policies, practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of council;
  • To ensure the accountability and transparency of the operations of the municipality, including the activities of the senior management of the municipality;
  • To maintain the financial integrity of the municipality; and
  • To carry out the duties of council under this or any other Act. 

Section 225 further describes the role of the Mayor as Head of Council:

  • To act as Chief Executive Officer of the municipality;
  • To preside over council meetings so that its business can be carried out efficiently and effectively;
  • To provide leadership to the council;
  • To provide information and recommendations to the council with respect to the role of council to ensure administrative, accountability and transparency policies are in place;
  • To represent the municipality at official functions; and
  • To carry out the duties of the head of council under this or any other Act.

Budget Allocation and Administration

Budget Allocation

Constituency Services Budget for Members of Council

Members of Council are provided with a Constituency Services Budget with which to run their offices. Expenses include items such as: community events, contributions, donations and sponsorship, office supplies and staffing. Members of Council cannot exceed their annual Constituency Services Budget. Any over-expenditure is the personal responsibility of the Member and to be paid personally by the Member. There is no carry-over of deficits or surpluses from one year to the next. This is particularly important in an election year since sufficient funds must remain for the newly elected representatives to operate their offices.

Where it appears that a Member’s Constituency Services Budget may be overspent, the City Clerk or designate will advise the Member in writing as soon as a risk is identified and, in conjunction with the Program Manager, Council Support Services or the Program Manager, Mayor Support Services, as appropriate, work towards resolving the matter with the Member.

Council Administration Budget

The budget for the Elected Officials is overseen by the City Clerk. Under the supervision of the Manager, Council and Committee Services, the Council Administration Budget is used to finance a range of items commonly used in the operation of each Office, as well as cover certain other expenses supporting the Council or required by the Municipal Act, 2001.

The salary, benefits and transportation allowance of all Members of Council will be drawn from the Council Administration Budget. The Council Administration Budget may also fund travel by Members of Council to conferences, Board or committee meetings of municipal organization or similar events in accordance with relevant, approved policies and procedures.

Spending Guidelines and Accounting Procedures

Members’ claims for expenses must follow basic accounting and audit principles and the following guidelines:

  • Expenses must relate to the business of the City of Ottawa; Members and their staff cannot claim expenses of a personal nature;
  • Expenses must be consistent with what is permitted in the Councillors' Office Manual;
  • No expense shall create a conflict of interest, or the appearance of such a conflict, that may arise through the purchase of goods or services from a family member or a family member of one of a Member’s staff;
  • Members or their staff must incur the expenses. Expenses incurred by third parties cannot be claimed;
  • Members’ budgets shall not be used to provide a personal benefit to specific individual citizens or businesses (i.e. payment of tax penalties, parking tickets, sponsorship of personal travel, etc.);
  • Members and their staff must provide proper documentation, including detailed original receipts and a breakdown of taxes, for all expense claims. Credit card receipts or statements alone are not sufficient and will not be accepted. In the case of any on-line purchases, a copy of the confirmation must be attached to the claim. Members or their authorized staff must sign off on all receipts or invoices with original signatures. Documentation with only signature stamps or electronic signatures will not be accepted;
  • Delegation of signing authority to staff must be documented on the appropriate form and remitted to the Program Manager, Council Support Services or the Program Manager, Mayor Support Services with samples of signatures prior to the transaction;
  • Invoices must include a description of the goods purchased or services rendered, the cost, applicable taxes and GST Registration Number. In the event a GST Registration Number is not provided, Members’ Assistants are required to contact the vendor to obtain the information;
  • The City of Ottawa is exempted from GST. GST paid to vendors will not be included in the amount charged to the Member’s Constituency Services Budget;
  • Any material and intellectual assets purchased through the use of the Constituency Services Budget are the property of the office, not the Member. Original receipts and a photograph of the purchase are required for inventory purposes;
  • All donations to charities funded by the Constituency Services budget shall be accomplished by means of a cheque, direct deposit or purchasing card payment and any charitable receipt shall be made out to the City of Ottawa. Charitable receipts shall be given to the Program Manager, Council Support Services or the Program Manager, Mayor Support Services. Neither Members nor their staff will be reimbursed for charitable donations provided in cash unless accompanied by the charitable receipt;
  • Direct mail and direct marketing expenses for a geographic area outside of a Member’s ward will not be permitted without prior approval from the City Clerk, in consultation with the Integrity Commissioner. Notwithstanding, it is recognized that advertising in mass media and broader circulation publications and some unaddressed postal walks will cross ward boundaries and these are exempt where outside the control of the Member seeking to direct mail/direct market to his/her ward residents;
  • Expenses must be charged to the year in which they occurred. Expenses cannot be carried forward to different years;
  • Members who charge for goods against the current year must have received the goods and/or services from the vendor before December 31 of that year;
  • Original receipts must be submitted within 90 days of purchase and no later than the final date for processing payments within a budget year as determined by the Finance Services Department;
  • At the end of the year, when expenses have been incurred but invoices are not yet received, Members must inform the Program Manager, Council Support Services or the Program Manager, Mayor Support Services, as appropriate, so that a proper liability can be set up. Invoices from previous years that have not been set up as liabilities will not be paid or reimbursed from the previous year’s budget. Payment may be made against the current year’s budget;
  • To ensure financial integrity, Members of Council must sign off on disbursements/reimbursements directly payable to their staff. Further, the City Clerk or designate must sign off on disbursements/reimbursements directly payable to Members of Council;
  • Where a Member of Council or their staff is requesting reimbursement for an expense, proof of payment must also be submitted; and
  • Members of Council can obtain a Corporate Card or a Purchasing Card, which provides more flexibility with respect to purchasing goods and services, including travel expenses. Both cards are accompanied with specific reporting and accountability requirements;

Public Disclosure

Expense reports are prepared on a monthly basis for each Member of Council. The reports are broken down into a series of categories for ease of reference. An itemized report is provided for expenses related to donations and sponsorships, hospitality, special events and travel. Members of Council must take note of the specific documentation requirements of certain allowable expenses and ensure that the appropriate details are provided. An annual release of each Member of Council’s final budget figures will also be disclosed.

Further, and in accordance with the legislated requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001, a Statement of Remuneration, Benefits and Expenses Paid to Council Members and Council Appointees, and Police Services Board members, will be reported to Council each year.

In the spirit of accountability and transparency, the individual office expenses for Members of City Council are publicly disclosed on the City’s website.

Conditions and Requirements for Public Disclosure

Contributions and Sponsorship
  • Contributions must be accompanied by a request from the organization with details about the group and the purpose of the contribution
Hospitality offered by Members
  • Identify business purpose and date for the meeting expense;
  • Original itemized receipt indicating items consumed and total cost;
  • The name and location of establishment; and
  • Full name of all participants attending meeting must be provided, as well as their affiliation if they are representing an organization or business. The names of individuals receiving hospitality are not confidential.
  • Members are not required to list the names of attendees for community events of a social, protocol or ceremonial nature or events involving large groups (over 10 people), school events or similar events where no City business is transacted or the names of any minors receiving hospitality.
Special Events attended by Members
  • Exact name of event must be provided;
  • Date and location of the event;
  • The name of any individual who attended with the Member must be provided;
  • Detailed receipts and invoices of any expenses incurred; and
  • A copy of tickets purchased.
Travel
  • Identify all City-funded travel, including travel funded by the City’s Boards and Agencies, as well as Members’ travel funded by external bodies such as boards, conservation authorities and municipal associations;
  • Identify where the meeting was held, the duration, and the purpose;
  • Travel reimbursement must include any itinerary confirming travel dates and airline booking, an original hotel invoice itemizing room costs and other incidentals, conference brochure confirming the cost and conference date and taxi / parking receipts;
  • Members must report to the Integrity Commissioner, before the first date of travel, all travel costs funded by an eligible body under the Code of Conduct; and
  • Members who undertake City-funded travel must submit a report detailing their experiences, what they learned at the conference and how the City’s position or interests were advanced. The report shall be accomplished in writing, either as an information report or as an Information Previously Distributed report, listed on the agenda for the appropriate Standing Committee.

Restrictions on Expenses

Contributions

  • Unless otherwise approved by motion of Council, contributions are limited to 3.5% of the Members annual Constituency Services Budget;
  • Contributions shall be made via City of Ottawa cheques, direct deposit or purchasing card payment to a community group or organization, not by a Member of Council or staff personal cheques;
  • Unless otherwise approved by motion of Council, contributions to individuals, businesses or City funded services and departments are prohibited; and
  • The purchase of material assets as contributions is prohibited.

Expenses

  • No expense shall create a conflict of interest, or the appearance of such a conflict, that may arise through the purchase of goods or services from a family member;
  • Alcohol is not a permitted expense;
  • Personal expenses (i.e. clothing, etc.) are not eligible expenses; and
  • Gifts for Members’ staff or other employees of the City, its agencies, boards, commissions and special purpose bodies are not eligible expenses.

Interpretation and Exemptions

The City Clerk and Members of Council may consult with the Integrity Commissioner for guidance with respect to individual Member expenses or any interpretation on the application of this policy.

Where the City Clerk and the Integrity Commissioner have been consulted and a determination has been made that expense is appropriate, an exemption may be granted in writing.

Election Year Budget Restrictions

In a municipal election year, and in relation to a municipal by-election, certain restrictions are placed on Member’s Office Budgets and the allowable expenses that can be incurred. These restrictions are set out in the Election-Related Resources Policy.

Council-Staff Relations Policy

Approved By: City Council
Category: City Clerk
Approval Date: November 22, 2017
Effective Date: January 1, 2018
Revision Date: February 1, 2021 (Housekeeping revisions)

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa will promote a respectful, tolerant and harassment-free relationship and workplace between Members of Council and the officers and employees of the corporation, guided by the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, the Employee Code of Conduct, the Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy, and the Procedure By-law.

Purpose

This policy provides guidance on how the City of Ottawa ensures a safe, healthy, respectful, tolerant and harassment-free relationship and workplace between Members of Council and the officers and employees of the corporation.

Application

In accordance with Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, this policy applies to all Members of Council and officers and employees of the corporation.

Policy Requirements

The relationship between Members of Council and the officers and employees of the corporation is guided by the following:

1. Code of Conduct for Members of Council

The Code of Conduct for Members of Council establishes the ethical behaviour expected of Members of Ottawa City Council and the citizen members of the Transit Commission. A Code of Conduct has also been established for the Citizen Members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee. Subsections 10(5) and (6) of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, titled, “Conduct Respecting Staff,” state as follows:

“Members of Council shall be respectful of the role of the municipal administration to provide advice based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from an individual Member or group of Members of Council.

Members of Council should not:

      1. Maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation, or the prospects or practice of municipal staff;
      2. Compel municipal staff to engage in partisan political activities or be subjected to threat or discrimination for refusing to engage in such activities; or
      3. Use, or attempt to use, their authority or influence for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding or influencing any municipal staff member with the intent of interfering in staff’s duties.”

The Code of Conduct for Members of Council defines municipal staff as follows:

“Municipal staff” includes all employees, dependent contractors and volunteers of the City of Ottawa and, for purposes of certainty, extends to employees, dependent contractors and volunteers engaged to support Members' offices.”

2. Employee Code of Conduct

The Employee Code of Conduct is founded on the notion of ensuring integrity in public service through the recognition and promotion of the fundamental principles of transparency, impartiality, respect and accountability.

The Impartiality section of the Employee Code of Conduct states as follows:

“Ottawa City Council is the elected voice of the citizens of the City of Ottawa. Its members have been elected to set the policy direction of the municipality. The public has an interest in ensuring that City of Ottawa employees are committed to carrying out the will and decisions of City Council, and that public servants are, and are perceived to be, impartial in carrying out their duties. Given the public interest in an impartial public service, employees must exercise restraint in any criticism of City of Ottawa policy and consider how their public comments may affect the public perception of the City.

We Do

  • We recognize that City Council is the elected voice of the citizens of the City of Ottawa and we respect the decisions of City Council; and
  • We distinguish between our personal comments or opinions and our jobs with the City.

We Do Not

  • Make comments that disparage or harm the reputation of the City, Council or our co-workers;
  • Claim to speak on behalf of the City unless we have been authorized to do so; and
  • Make personal comments using City letterhead, our City e-mail address or anything else that implies a connected between our personal comments or opinions and the City.”

3. Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy

The Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy states as follows:

“The City of Ottawa is committed to ensuring a safe, healthy and respectful work environment free from all forms of violence and harassment.

The City of Ottawa prohibits workplace violence and harassment directed at employees by members of the public, between employees, or by an employee towards a member of the public.

This policy prohibits violence, harassment and discrimination under any of the categories defined in the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Canada Labour Code, the Ontario Human Rights Code, and the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

4. Procedure By-law

The Procedure By-law establishes rules, procedure and conduct within Council and Standing Committee meetings. Specifically, Subsection 42(1)(a), titled, “Conduct of Members in Council,” states as follows:

“No Member shall:Speak disrespectfully of the Reigning Sovereign, or of any Member of the Royal Family, or of the Governor General or the Lieutenant-Governor of any province, or of a fellow Member of Council or staff.”

Responsibilities

Members of Council and officers and employees of the corporation are required to adhere to this policy and its governing provisions, including the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, the Employee Code of Conduct, the Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy, and the Procedure By-law.

Monitoring/Contraventions

The City Clerk shall be responsible for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this policy. Upon receipt of a complaint and/or concern, the City Clerk shall notify:

  1. In the case of officers and employees of the corporation, the Manager, Director or General Manager responsible for the employee and the Director, Human Resources; or
  2. In the case of Council, the Integrity Commissioner.

Where there is a discrepancy between the Council-Staff Relations Policy and the Code of Conduct for Members of Council or the Employee Code of Conduct, the language of the Code prevails.

References

Code of Conduct for Members of Council
Employee Code of Conduct
Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy
Procedure By-law

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 requires City Council to adopt and maintain a policy with respect to the relationship between Members of Council and the officers and employees of the corporation. The Council-Staff Relations Policy identifies the legislation, policies, procedures and practices that the City complies with in order to promote a respectful relationship between Members of Council and the officers and employees of the City of Ottawa.

Enquiries

City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Telephone: 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Delegation of Powers Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: November 28, 2007
Effective Date: November 28, 2007
Revision Dates: February 13, 2013 and December 9, 2020
Revisions Approved By: City Council

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa will delegate its powers and duties in order to support efficient management of municipal operations and ensuring appropriate accountability and reporting is assigned to each delegation.

Definitions

Legislative Powers – Includes all matters where Council acts in a legislative or quasi-judicial function including enacting by-laws, setting policies, and exercising decision-making authority.

Administrative Powers – Includes all matters required for the management of the corporation that do not involve discretionary decision-making.

High-profile or sensitive matters – May include, but not be limited to, the following examples:

  • Significant City projects, programs or services with respect to budget, project scale, risk level or public interest where an authority has been specifically granted by Council;
  • Events such as those described in the Donations to the City for Community Benefit Policy:
    • Modifications, enhancements, replacement, alterations or removal of City facilities, amenities, programs or services available to the public;
    • An introduction of new facilities, amenities, or equipment to a City owned or leased location accessed by the public;
    • A significant reconfiguration of a public property, facility or programming space within a City facility;
    • A recognition benefit to a donor that has significant impact on site or facility aesthetics and/or use; and/or
    • A requirement to waive all or a portion of City policies and/or standards such as accessibility, bilingualism, etc.

Purpose

This policy provides guidance regarding the scope of powers and duties that Council may delegate under its legislative and administrative authority and establishes principles governing such delegation.

Application

As required by Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, this policy applies to all City of Ottawa operations.

Policy Requirements

City Council supports the delegation of powers and duties to provide efficient management of municipal operations and respond to matters in a timely fashion according to the following principles:

  1. All delegation of powers and duties shall be set out in the Delegation of Authority By-law and reviewed every term of Council.
  2. Unless expressly delegated by Council through the Delegation of Authority by-law, all powers and duties of Council remain with Council.
  3. All delegation of powers and duties may be revoked at any time without notice.
  4. No delegation of powers and duties shall exceed the term of Council.
  5. Every delegation of a power or duty of Council shall be accompanied by a corresponding accountability and transparency mechanism.
  6. A delegation of a power or duty under any by-law to any member of staff is also a delegation to a person appointed as the City Manager to act in the capacity of the delegate in their absence.

The following additional principles are to be applied when delegating authority to a Standing Committee:

  • Standing Committees should decide those items that are consistent with a policy that City Council has adopted;
  • Standing Committees should decide matters that are consistent with the application of federal and/or provincial statutes and/or regulations;
  • Standing Committees should be the body that makes recommendations on all aspects related to a policy or policy implementation issue (including property acquisitions, contracts, etc.); and
  • Standing Committees will have the authority to confirm by-laws for decisions under their delegated authority.

For those transactional items that relate specifically to identifiable wards, the following process was established based on the Site Plan approval process:

  • The general authority is delegated to staff, who will observe all established processes and procedures;
  • Staff will work with the Ward Councillor(s), stakeholders and the public to resolve any identified issues;
  • Staff will prepare a Delegated Authority Report, where all comments from the public and stakeholders are summarized and responded to in the reports;
  • The Delegated Authority Report, including the conditions of approval, is sent electronically to the Ward Councillor(s) for concurrence;
  • If the Ward Councillor(s) agree: 
    • The Report is then signed by the General Manager/Director or their delegate. 
    • Notice of decision is sent to the Ward Councillor(s) and those who submitted comments on the issue or who requested notification of the decision; and
  • If the Ward Councillor(s) do not agree with staff’s recommendation: 
    • Delegated authority is withdrawn, and the application is sent to the appropriate Standing Committee for a public meeting and decision. 

Generally, the Ward Councillor has the ability to lift delegated authority from staff where they are not satisfied with the recommendations/conditions. In addition, if a Ward Councillor does not provide concurrence and does not lift delegated authority within the recommended timelines, staff has the ability to move the report forward to Committee on their own accord.

Finally, any Member of Council has the right to ask that an item that is delegated to a Standing Committee be forwarded to Council for a decision, either at the meeting, or in writing to the Standing Committee Co-ordinator at any point up until the day after the Committee disposition is posted.

In exercising any delegated authority, the delegate shall ensure the following:·

  • Any expenditure related to the matter shall have been provided for in the current year’s budget;·
  • The scope of the delegated authority shall not be exceeded by the delegate;
  • The consistent and equitable application of Council policies and procedures; and
  • Where required by the specific delegated authority, reports shall be submitted to Council advising of the exercise of a delegated authority and confirming compliance with the delegated authority and this policy;
  • That Members of Council and/or the Ward Councillor, as appropriate, are engaged early in the process, particularly in instances where the matter is high-profile or sensitive;
  • That enhanced accountability and transparency mechanisms, including consultation and reporting over and above what may be required under the Delegation of Authority By-law, are formally considered and assessed in potentially high-profile or sensitive matters; and
  • That any business decisions with respect to consultation and reporting the exercise of delegated authority will be documented in accordance with applicable information management policies and procedures.

Responsibilities

City staff is responsible for adhering to the parameters of this policy and for ensuring appropriate application of delegated authority.

Monitoring/Contraventions

The City Clerk shall be responsible for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this policy. Upon receipt of a complaint and/or concern, the City Clerk shall notify City Council and the City Manager.

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 requires that the City adopt and maintain a policy with respect to the delegation of powers and duties.

Delegation of Authority By-law
Procurement By-law
Standing Committee Terms of Reference

Enquiries

For more information on this policy, contact:
City Clerk
Office of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Telephone: 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Election-Related Resources Policy

Department: Office of the City Clerk
Approved By: City Council
Approval Date: February 12, 2003
Effective Date: February 12, 2003
Revision Approved By: City Council
Revision Dates: February 13, 2013; March 23, 2022

Policy Statement

To provide direction regarding the use of City of Ottawa resources with respect to election-related matters.

Purpose

In compliance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (the MEA), public funds and resources are not to be used for any election-related purposes, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office.

Specifically, Section 88.18 of the MEA provides that municipalities “… shall establish rules and procedures with respect to the use of [municipal resources] during the election campaign period.” In addition, Subsection 88.8(4)5 of the MEA provides that a municipality shall not make a campaign contribution.

The Ontario Election Finances Act, 1990 and the Canada Elections Act, 2000 include similar prohibitions with respect to provincial and federal election campaigns. Specifically, Section 29 of the Election Finances Act, 1990 prohibits contributions from corporations, which includes municipal corporations. Section 363 of the Canada Elections Act, 2000 similarly provides that only individuals may make campaign contributions.

Application

This Policy applies:

  • To all Members of City Council, City employees, and Council-appointed citizen members of the Transit Commission, Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Advisory Committees in relation to the occurrence of a municipal election, by-election, or campaign related to a question on the ballot; and
  • To all Members of City Council, City employees, and Council-appointed citizen members of the Transit Commission, Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Advisory Committees in relation to any participation in federal and provincial elections that is partisan in nature.

Where applicable, provisions in this Policy shall also apply to activities of all candidates, registered third party advertisers and ballot question campaigns in relation to City resources. The term “election-related” may be used in this Policy to refer to the matters set out above.

Certain provisions of this Policy may be subject to additional City by-laws, policies and procedures. Guidance should be sought from the City Clerk or designate if clarification or interpretation is required, or if any situation arises that is not expressly addressed in this Policy or the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.

Members of Council

This Policy applies to all Members of Council. That said, the blackout period provisions set out in Section 5 of this Policy and in the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1 do not apply to a Member who is acclaimed, or who is retiring from office and therefore is not a candidate in an election.

This Policy is intended to balance the duty of a Member to represent their constituents and the legal obligation of the City not to contribute to, or be perceived as contributing to, an election campaign. With respect to election-related activity, Section 14 of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council provides that Members are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and this Policy.

It is recognized that Members, as elected officials, are responsible to serve their constituents and fulfill their responsibilities until the end of their term. That said, clear separation must exist between an elected official’s role as a Member of Council and their role as a candidate.

It is further recognized that there are no rules regarding the working hours that Members keep. Elected officials are often called upon to work at all hours of the day and night, as well as on weekends and holidays. They do not receive vacation or overtime, and there is no defined workday/paid time/on-duty time for a Member of Council. As such, a Member may be involved in election-related activities in their capacity as a candidate at times of the day that may generally be considered to be City “office hours.” This is permitted, as long as the Member’s activities do not contravene provisions of this Policy, and public funds and resources are not used for election-related purposes.

City Employees

This Policy applies to all City employees, including employees in the offices of Members of Council.

In line with the City’s Employee Code of Conduct, City employees are expected to preserve the public trust and confidence in the City and apply the core values of their code of conduct to their daily work. City employees are ultimately responsible for conducting themselves in accordance with the Employee Code of Conduct as well as this Policy.

With respect to election-related activities, while the City encourages employees to become involved in their community, it is recognized that some activities unrelated to work can interfere with an employee’s ability to do their job and may undermine the neutrality of the City. Employees are expected to promote the principles of transparency, impartiality, respect and accountability as set out in Section 6 of this Policy.

Council-appointed Citizen Members of the Transit Commission, Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Advisory Committees

This Policy applies to all Council-appointed citizen members of the Transit Commission, Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Advisory Committees.

This Policy is intended to balance the duties of citizen members with the legal obligation of the City not to contribute to, or be perceived as contributing to, an election campaign. As such, citizen members engaged in political activities must take care to separate those personal activities from their appointed positions.

The Code of Conduct for Members of Council applies to citizen members of the Transit Commission when acting in their official capacity. The Code of Conduct for Citizen Members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee applies to citizen members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee when acting in their official capacity. Both codes of conduct require that citizen members conduct themselves in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and this Policy.

The Advisory Committee Members’ Code of Conduct applies to members of Advisory Committees. The Advisory Committee Members’ Code of Conduct recognizes the role of Advisory Committees in providing informed, impartial and objective advice and guidance, as well as facilitating public input to Council on programs and policies in support of Council’s priorities. Section 1 of the code of conduct provides guidelines with respect to the importance of demonstrating respect, professionalism, transparency and accountability in all Advisory Committee business. Section 2 of the code of conduct further states that a member of an Advisory Committee “shall not engage in political campaigning of any sort (municipally, provincially or federally) on behalf of the Advisory Committee or as a Member of an Advisory Committee.”

Activities of Candidates, Registered Third Party Advertisers and Ballot Question Campaigns in Relation to City Resources

This Policy is intended to balance the statutory and legal rights of candidates, registered third party advertisers and campaigns related to a question on the ballot with the legal obligation of the City not to contribute to, or be perceived as contributing to, an election campaign. Provisions of this Policy will therefore apply to certain activities of all candidates, registered third party advertisers and ballot question campaigns that relate to the use of City resources. However, this Policy does not apply to candidate, third party advertiser and ballot question campaign activities that are unrelated to the use of City resources. This Policy also does not apply to candidates’ use of public information.

Policy Requirements

  1. General Provisions

  1. City resources shall not at any time be used to sponsor or produce any materials that promote or oppose the candidacy of a person for elected office, or that promote or oppose a campaign related to a question on the ballot.
  2. Subject to Section 5 of this Policy and the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1, Subsection 1(1) of this Policy is not meant to restrict Members of Council from routinely communicating with ward constituents by way of materials such as flyers, newsletters, householders, websites and email, and through activities such as events. However, Members shall ensure that any communications materials or activities produced or funded using City resources comply with applicable provisions of this Policy and are not related to an election.
  1. City Events

Attendance at City Events by Elected Officials
  1. Members of Council and other elected officials may attend City-organized events and act as participants in their capacity as elected officials, including speaking at the event and partaking in ceremonial activities, provided that they do not promote or oppose the candidacy of a person for elected office. Attendance at City events by Members of Council during the blackout period is subject to Section 5 of this Policy as well as the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
Attendance at City Events by Candidates, Registered Third Party Advertisers and Ballot Question Campaigns
  1. Candidates, registered third party advertisers, ballot question campaigns and their representatives may attend City events in their capacity as private citizens, but shall not campaign while in attendance or distribute campaign-related materials.
  2. Candidates, registered third party advertisers and representatives of ballot question campaigns shall not be invited to deliver formal remarks at a City event in their capacity as a candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign representative.
Member-organized Events in the Year of a Municipal Election
  1. Donations and sponsorships for Member-organized events in a municipal election year are subject to provisions of the Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy, which is administered by the City of Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner.
  2. Member-organized events that use City resources, including a Member’s Constituency Services Budget, during the blackout period are subject to approval from the City Clerk or designate in accordance with Section 5 of this Policy and Subsections 5(1)(b) and 5(1)(c) of the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
  1. City Facilities

Booking Space in City Facilities
  1. Members of the public, including community groups, candidates, registered third party advertisers, ballot question campaigns and their representatives, may book space in City facilities for election-related activities, subject to the following:
    1. The booking and any activities shall be subject to applicable City by-laws, rules, policies and procedures with respect to matters such as facility use, signs and campaigning;
    2. The subject organization/individual shall make its own arrangements directly with City staff and pay all of the associated costs for the event;
    3. City resources, including City staff, shall not play a role in the event outside of the general support associated with booking the space;
    4. Rental contract holders may decide who may participate in their event and what activities may take place in the rented area, provided the contract holders and participants respect facility rules and make appropriate use of the space as set out in the rental contract and applicable City by-laws, rules, policies and procedures; and
    5. With respect to City facilities that are used as a voting location:
      1. Space in such facilities shall not be booked for election-related activities on any day in which voting is to take place at the facility; and
      2. Any signs or promotional material relating to forthcoming election-related activities/events shall be removed from such facilities on any day in which voting is to take place at the facility. This does not apply to signs or promotional material placed by City staff in relation to the voting process.
  1. Members’ Constituency Services Budgets, credits for community use of recreation facilities and other City resources shall not be used to book/sponsor City facilities for election-related activities (e.g. an all-candidates meeting at any level of government). This prohibition does not apply to events related to general participation in municipal government and/or the election process (e.g. information sessions for the public), which shall be subject to pre-approval from the City Clerk or designate further to the principles of this Policy, as well as the application of Subsection 4(2) of the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
Campaigning in City Facilities and Other City Properties
  1. Campaigning is permitted in common areas of City facilities (such as building lobbies and public entranceways), as well as on public right of way sidewalks and thoroughfares, and in public parks and public areas of transit stations, subject to the following:
    1. Anyone campaigning shall not impede traffic, cause safety issues or disrupt other facility users;
    2. Campaigning shall not occur at City events or programming;
    3. Anyone campaigning shall not enter City program spaces for the purpose of campaigning/soliciting support from participants in City programs;
    4. Anyone campaigning shall not enter rented spaces for the purpose of campaigning/soliciting support from participants at private functions without permission from the rental contract holder;
    5. The Parks and Facilities By-law regulates and promotes the responsible enjoyment and use of City parks and related facilities. Use of parks and related facilities for formal campaigning purposes such as events, rallies etc. shall be subject to review by the Parks, Recreation and Facility Services Department and any applicable by-law conditions and/or other requirements with respect to permits, contracts and/or permission letters; and
    6. The Transit By-law regulates public transit, including fares and transfers, proof of payment, transit passes, general prohibitions, Transitway guidelines, Park & Ride lots, permits, fees and enforcement. Use of public areas of transit stations for formal campaigning purposes such as events, rallies etc. shall be subject to review by the Transit Services Department and any applicable by-law conditions and/or other requirements with respect to permits, contracts and/or permission letters.
  1. The placement of election signs on public and private property for municipal, provincial, and federal elections is regulated by the Signs on City Roads By-law and the Temporary Signs on Private Property By-law. Election signs are not permitted “in or upon transit property” pursuant to the Transit By-law but are otherwise permitted to be placed on nearby City property upon the “inner boulevard” as described in the Signs on City Roads By-law.
  1. City Resources

Members’ Communications and Related Matters
  1. As set out in Subsection 1(2) of this Policy, all Members of Council shall ensure that the content of any communications materials produced or funded using City resources is not for an election-related purpose, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office. Section 5 of this Policy, as well as the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1, apply to Members’ communications materials during the blackout period.
  2. City resources shall not be used to pay for, access, develop, maintain or update election-related communications platforms such as campaign websites and social media accounts. This includes but is not limited to the use of City-funded computers, tablets and smartphones; City wireless networks available to the Member’s office and not the general public; Members’ office staff during the working hours for those office staff; and/or Members’ Constituency Services Budgets.
  3. Communications materials, including photographic or video materials, which were or are created or produced by City employees or with City resources shall not be used in campaign materials or for any other election-related purposes.
  4. Constituent information (including telephone numbers and email and mailing addresses) that is collected, stored, accessed, maintained or updated using City resources shall not be used for election-related purposes.
  5. Members shall ensure that any communications materials issued to constituents following an election or by-election do not include reference to election-related matters. This includes but is not limited to the following:
    1. Communications materials issued by a Member shall not thank people for voting or support, or refer to matters such as the campaign, other candidates or the election. Such materials may include a general statement to the effect of being proud or honoured to continue to represent constituents; and
    2. Communications materials issued by a Member shall not include statements to the effect of farewell columns or a summary of past achievements/term of office, etc.
Members’ Websites
  1. A Member’s website that is paid for, accessed, maintained, developed or updated using City resources shall not be used for any election-related purposes. This includes but is not limited to a Member’s website that:
    1. Uses City funds for hosting and/or maintenance fees;
    2. Is updated/maintained by office staff during regular working hours or using City infrastructure; and
    3. Is referenced in the Member’s activities relating to their role as an elected official, such as the Member’s communications materials (e.g. City-funded Member’s website, business cards, email signature blocks, letterhead, community newspaper columns, flyers, photographs, householders, newsletters, advertisements, media releases, mail outs and emails).
  2. If a Member is converting a website that has been paid for, accessed, maintained, developed or updated using City resources to a campaign website for election-related purposes:
    1. The Member shall provide the City Clerk or designate with at least 24 hours’ notice of the conversion to ensure any links to the website may be removed from ottawa.ca in compliance with Subsection 4(13) of this Policy;
    2. The Member shall pay for the website personally when renewing the hosting service until the campaign budget takes over. A campaign shall not be permitted to reimburse the City for costs; and
    3. Any links or references to converted (campaign/election-related) websites shall be removed from the Member’s activities relating to their role as an elected official and shall not be provided on the Member’s communications materials (e.g. business cards, email signature blocks, letterhead, community newspaper columns, flyers, photographs, householders, newsletters, advertisements, media releases, mail outs and emails).
  3. Members shall not use a website that is paid for, accessed, maintained, developed or updated using City resources:
    1. To provide an endorsement of a candidate at any level of government or of a campaign related to a question on the ballot; and/or
    2. To link to a website/social media account of a candidate at any level of government or a campaign related to a question on the ballot.
  4. The following applies to links/widgets to a Member’s social media account(s) that appear on a Member’s website that is paid for, accessed, maintained, developed or updated using City resources:
    1. Links/widgets to a Member’s social media account(s) that appear on a Member’s website are to be removed from the website for the duration of the blackout period, as set out in Subsection 3(3) of the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
    2. If a Member intends to use their social media account(s) for election-related purposes (i.e. election-related posts or sharing) at any time, including but not limited to a municipal election/by-election, or federal/provincial election/by-election, the Member shall ensure that any links or widgets to their social media account(s) are removed from the Member’s website and shall notify the City Clerk upon removal.
Members’ Social Media Use
  1. Social media accounts that are free to use are generally not considered to be City resources. These accounts are personal to the individual Member and have not been created by the City of Ottawa, nor are they used by the City for the purposes of official communications. That said, the following applies to social media accounts of Members of Council:
    1. Members are encouraged to clearly distinguish between an elected official social media account and a campaign (election-related) social media account. Any official ward-based social media account operated by a Member’s City-funded office (i.e. the “Ward ____” account, the “____ Ward” account) should not be used for election-related purposes;
    2. Members who post or share election-related materials through a social media account shall ensure that those activities are not conducted using City resources, including but not limited to office staff during regular working hours or using City infrastructure such as smartphones and computers; and
    3. If a Member’s social media account includes election-related posts or sharing, any links or references to that account shall not appear on the Member’s communications materials (e.g. City-funded Member’s website, business cards, email signature blocks, letterhead, community newspaper columns, flyers, photographs, householders, newsletters, advertisements, media releases, mail outs and emails).
  2. Members shall follow any guidance issued by the Integrity Commissioner with respect to social media use. The Code of Conduct for Members of Council applies to Members’ social media activity.
Members’ Content on ottawa.ca
  1. Members’ content on ottawa.ca, including biographies, shall not be related to an election, and shall be provided to the City Clerk or designate for review to ensure compliance with this policy when initially posted or substantially revised.
  2. The following applies to links to Members’ content on ottawa.ca:
    1. Links on ottawa.ca to a Member’s website(s) shall be removed from ottawa.ca if the Member’s website is used for election-related purposes (i.e. converted in full or in part from an elected official website to a campaign website).
    2. Links on ottawa.ca to a Member’s social media account(s) shall be removed from ottawa.ca if the social media account is used for election-related purposes (i.e. election-related posts or sharing). If a Member intends to use their social media account(s) for election-related purposes at any time, including but not limited to a municipal election/by-election, or federal/provincial election/by-election, the Member shall provide the City Clerk or designate with at least 24 hours’ notice of the use to ensure any links/widgets to social media account(s) may be removed from ottawa.ca.
    3. Links on ottawa.ca to a Member’s website(s) and social media account(s) shall be removed from ottawa.ca for the duration of the blackout period, as set out in Subsection 3(2) of the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
City Communications and Related Matters
  1. City-funded websites or domain names shall not include any campaign materials, make reference to and identify any individual as a candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign member, or profile any slogan or symbol associated with a candidate, registered third party advertiser, or ballot question campaign. This prohibition does not apply to the identification of candidates on official municipal election or by-election pages of ottawa.ca.
  2. Corporate social media accounts identified under the City’s Social Media Protocol shall not reissue or repurpose (e.g. by way of “retweeting,” “liking,” or linking to) any posts by a nominated candidate (for office on municipal Council, or provincial or federal candidates). This restriction does not apply to posts by the Mayor related to intergovernmental activities and proclamations in the Mayor’s capacity as Chief Executive Officer of the City as set out in Sections 225 and 226.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.
City Information and Related Matters
  1. City information provided upon request to one candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign shall also be provided to any other candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign that requests the same information.
  2. Requests by a candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign for individual meetings with General Managers or other City employees, or for tours of City facilities, may not always be accommodated due to resource and time constraints. If such a meeting or tour is organized for one candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign, the department shall also organize a similar meeting or tour for any other candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign that makes such a request.
City Visual Identity and Related Matters
  1. The City’s corporate logos, official marks, slogan, coat of arms etc., shall not be printed, posted or distributed on any campaign materials except to link to the City’s website to obtain information about the municipal election.
  2. Photographic or video materials that are copyright of the City or that are or have been created by City employees or with City resources shall not be used for any external election-related purpose or in campaign materials.
Members’ Constituency Services Budgets
  1. In a municipal election year, a pro-rated portion of the annual budget for each Members’ office shall be reserved for the new term of Council. Up to 10.5/12 of the budget may be spent by the incumbent Member and 1.5/12 shall be reserved for the next term. Staff in the Office of the City Clerk shall monitor expenditures to assist each office in ensuring that the budget threshold is not exceeded.
  2. In the event of a ward or city-wide by-election, or an appointment to fill a vacancy in the Office of a Member of Council, funds from the vacated Member’s office shall be set aside on a pro-rated basis for the newly elected representative based on the start date of the new Member.
  3. Pursuant to Subsection 4(21), any pre-committed funds and obligations, such as web hosting fees, shall be brought to the attention of the City Clerk or designate within 48 hours of the certification and shall be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Members’ Ward Accounts Relating to City Programs
  1. In the year of a municipal election, the following applies to any request/direction a Councillor wishes to provide to staff with respect to the use of ward accounts for which the Councillor has delegated authority to access and/or approve the use of City funds relating to Section 37 community benefits, the Cash-in-Lieu of Parkland Funds Policy and/or the Temporary Traffic Calming Measures Program:
    1. As noted in Subsection 2(4) of the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures, during the blackout period:
      1. A Councillor who is a candidate for any office in the municipal election shall not provide any request/direction to staff regarding the use of the above-noted ward accounts.
      2. A Councillor who is not a candidate for any office in the municipal election, or who has been acclaimed, may provide requests/direction to staff regarding the use of the above-noted ward accounts, in accordance with any policy provisions relating to the ward account.
    2. Before the start of the blackout period, and after Voting Day and until the end of the Term of Council, a Councillor may provide requests/direction to staff regarding the use of the above-noted ward accounts, in accordance with any policy provisions relating to the ward account.
Election Campaigns at Other Levels of Government
  1. Members of Council shall not use City resources to host, promote, sponsor or otherwise organize or assist with any event that involves direct participation by candidates at other levels of government, given that there is potential for partisanship, real or perceived, to occur at, or in the organization of, any such event that directly involves candidate participation.
  2. Members of Council may communicate with constituents regarding federal/provincial matters relevant to the ward/City of Ottawa, as well as any issues that have a direct bearing on municipal business between the federal/provincial government and the City of Ottawa. Any such communication shall be non-partisan in nature and may be conducted through communications such as general questionnaires to all candidates, or messages to constituents highlighting federal/provincial matters of importance to the ward without commentary/indicating a preference for a particular candidate/party.
  3. The following applies if a Member of Council becomes a candidate in a provincial or federal election/by-election:
    1. A Member who is a candidate shall seek guidance from the City Clerk with respect to responsibilities and obligations required to comply with this Policy. While certain restrictions may apply in order to ensure compliance with this Policy and its purpose, it is recognized that the Member continues to be the elected representative and may remain active in their capacity as the Ward Councillor. This may include participating in meetings of City Council, its Standing Committees, Transit Commission and Sub-Committees, attending City and community meetings and events in their capacity as Ward Councillor, and fulfilling any other statutory roles and responsibilities of a Member of Council.
    2. Communications materials published, issued or otherwise used by a Member who is a candidate shall not advertise the Member’s participation/attendance in events.
    3. Following a provincial or federal election/by-election, Subsection 4(5) of this Policy applies to any communications materials issued to constituents by a Member who is a candidate.
    4. Communications materials published, issued or otherwise used by the City shall not reference the name or image of a Member of Council who is a candidate in a federal/provincial election/by-election. This includes but is not limitd to municipal publications, advertisements, media releases and public service announcements, speaking notes and social media content (e.g. Corporate City social media accounts identified under the City’s Social Media Protocol shall not retweet, link to, “like,” or otherwise reissue or repurpose the Member’s communications during the blackout period). This does not include materials such as Council and Committee meeting minutes and agendas.
    5. Any reference made in City communications materials to a specific Ward Councillor who is a candidate in a federal/provincial election/by-election shall be to the “Ward Councillor for Ward ___,” or “Chair of the ___ Committee,” rather than by name. The Mayor shall be subject to the same restrictions as Ward Councillors, but may be named in media releases and City materials related to intergovernmental activities and proclamations only in the Mayor’s capacity as Chief Executive Officer of the City as set out in Sections 225 and 226.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.
    6. Media releases, speaking notes and other communications materials that relate to a Member of Council who is a candidate in a federal/provincial election/by-election and are to be published, used or distributed by the City during the applicable campaign period shall be provided to the City Clerk or designate for review and approval.
    7. Section 6 of this Policy applies with respect to the Member’s staff and any other City employees should they be engaged in political activities.
  1. Restrictions During the 60-day Blackout Period Prior to and including Voting Day

  1. In a municipal election year or in the event of a by-election, City resources including Members’ Constituency Services Budgets are not to be used to sponsor any advertisements, flyers, newsletters, householders and other communications with ward constituents for the 60-day period prior to and including Voting Day. General prohibitions and restrictions also apply during this period to the holding of events by Members, event-related activities, and other uses of City resources, as described in the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
  2. Despite Subsection 5(1) of this Policy, where an emergency occurs, a non-emergency-related community issue arises or where a Member’s annual community event is held during the blackout period, a Member may participate in certain activities or use City resources to communicate with constituents with the approval of the City Clerk or designate in accordance with Section 5 of the Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures attached as Appendix 1.
  3. The prohibitions set out in Subsection 5(1) of this Policy do not apply to a Member who is acclaimed, or who is retiring from office and therefore is not a candidate in the election.
  4. City staff shall make all efforts to hold outside of the blackout period any City event that may require participation from Members who are election candidates. If a City event that may require participation from such Members must be held during the blackout period due to statutory/project timelines or other scheduling considerations, staff shall consult with the City Clerk or designate and receive approval regarding the event further to the principles of this Policy.
  1. City Employees

  1. The following applies to City employee participation in City or external community events in their official position as a City employee:
    1. A City employee may participate in an event, by providing information or otherwise, if the event has no election-related purposes, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office.
    2. A City employee shall not participate in any event, by providing information or otherwise, if an event is to have any election-related purposes, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office.
    3. A City employee shall seek guidance from the City Clerk or designate with respect to participation in any of the following:
      1. Events involving one or more candidates at any level of government as participants;
      2. Events involving one or more Members of Council as participants during the blackout period;
      3. Events related to matters at the provincial/federal level during a provincial/federal election campaign, as the case may be; and/or
      4. Events involving one or more MPPs or MPs as participants following the issuing of the writ.
  2. Employees engaged in political activities shall separate those personal activities from their official positions. This includes the following:
    1. Employees may participate in political activity at the municipal, provincial and federal levels provided that such activity does not take place during the employee’s City work hours or use City resources;
    2. Employees who involve themselves in an election campaign by posting or sharing campaign-related materials through personal social media accounts shall separate these activities from their role as a City employee and shall ensure that none of these activities are done during the employee’s City work hours or using City resources;
    3. Any City information obtained by an employee through their employment with the City shall not be used for election-related purposes; and
    4. Employees in the offices of Members of Council must ensure vacation or Time Off In Lieu is submitted to the Program Manager, Council Support Services, or Program Manager, Mayor Support Services, or their designates, as the case may be, in advance of any campaign-related work conducted during traditional working hours.
  3. Notices, posters or similar materials in support of a particular candidate, campaign related to a question on the ballot, or political party shall not be displayed or distributed by employees at City work sites or at City facilities.
  4. Employees wishing to run for municipal, provincial or federal office shall request and obtain a leave of absence without pay, and abide by the respective legislation governing such elections. Employees with questions regarding their obligations with respect to obtaining a leave of absence without pay may contact the City Clerk or designate.
  5. Should an employee of a sitting Member of Council wish to run for election or by-election, that employee shall begin the required leave of absence immediately upon certification of the nomination by the City Clerk or designate. Subsequently, all employee accesses (including email and security) related to the Member’s office shall be suspended and all City resources used by the individual as a result of employment within the Member’s office (such as computers, smartphones and electronic storage devices) shall be returned immediately.
  6. An employee who identifies a potential conflict of interest with respect to election-related matters (e.g. a family member or close friend is a candidate, etc.) shall advise the manager or director to whom they report in writing of the potential conflict of interest in accordance with the Employee Code of Conduct. Thereafter, the manager or director shall develop a process, with input from the City Clerk or designate and Legal Services, to insulate the employee against any claim of conflict, be it real or perceived.

Responsibilities

Members of Council

  • Ensure relevant requirements of this Policy and its Procedures are fulfilled in any duties and activities undertaken.
  • Understand and support this Policy and its Procedures and ensure accountability for their actions.
  • Seek clarification of any aspect of this Policy and its Procedures, as required.

Citizen Members of the Transit Commission, Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Advisory Committees

  • Ensure relevant requirements of this Policy and its Procedures are fulfilled in any duties and activities undertaken.
  • Understand and support this Policy and its Procedures and ensure accountability for their actions.
  • Seek clarification of any aspect of this Policy and its Procedures, as required.

City Employees, including Management

  • Ensure relevant requirements of this Policy and its Procedures are fulfilled in any duties and activities undertaken in their official position as a City employee.
  • Ensure relevant requirements of this Policy and its Procedures are fulfilled with respect to any political activity or candidacy undertaken by the employee, and regarding any conflict of interest identified by the employee.
  • Understand and support this Policy and its Procedures and ensure accountability for their actions.
  • Seek clarification of any aspect of this Policy and its Procedures, as required.

City Clerk

  • Ensure relevant requirements of this Policy and its Procedures are fulfilled in any duties and activities undertaken.
  • Ensure the administration, communication, interpretation and monitoring/enforcement of this Policy and its Procedures.
  • Receive and respond to any complaints, concerns and inquiries/requests for guidance related to this Policy and its Procedures.
  • Delegate in writing any designate(s) assigned to administer any or all of this Policy and its Procedures.
  • Review this Policy and its Procedures at least every two years through the City’s governance reviews as well as in the third year of the Council term, and as required by changes to legislation. The City Clerk is authorized to make minor administrative updates as may be necessary to maintain compliance and consistency with legislation, while respecting and preserving the intent of the Policy and its Procedures.

Monitoring/Contraventions

Guidance and Interpretation

The City Clerk or designate shall have the delegated authority to provide guidance with respect to election-related matters in relation to this Policy and/or its Procedures, and to issue in writing any interpretation on the application of this Policy and/or its Procedures and any related approvals or prohibitions. Such guidance, interpretation, approvals and prohibitions shall be based on the overarching legislative requirement for public funds and resources not to be used for any election-related purposes, including the promotion of or opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office.

Complaints and Investigation

The City Clerk or designate shall have the delegated authority to receive and investigate any written complaint with respect to the alleged use of City of Ottawa resources in contravention of this Policy and/or its Procedures. The written complaint must be submitted to the City Clerk or designate and set out specific example(s) and corresponding details of how the alleged use of a particular City resource may have contravened this Policy and/or its Procedures.

Upon completion of any investigation, the City Clerk or designate may resolve any issues and, if necessary, determine appropriate corrective action based on the findings of the investigation, in consultation with the City of Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner as necessary in relation to the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, as described below. If the investigation determines that a Member of Council or citizen member of the Transit Commission, Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Advisory Committees contravened the Policy and/or its Procedures, the Member or citizen member shall be required to personally repay any direct costs associated with the breach. The City Clerk shall advise the complainant of the outcome of the complaint and any repayment that was made. The City Clerk shall report on the exercise of delegated authority under this Policy to the appropriate Standing Committee following a municipal election or by-election.

It is also recognized that matters related to election-related activity are included in the codes of conduct applicable to Members of Council and citizen members of the Transit Commission and Built Heritage Sub-Committee, which are under the mandate of the City of Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner and to which separate complaint protocols apply. For example, Section 14 of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council states as follows:

“Members of Council are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 and the City’s Election-Related Resources Policy. The use of municipal resources, both actual municipal property and staff time, for election-related activity is strictly prohibited. The prohibition applies to both the promotion and opposition to the candidacy of a person for elected office. Election-related activity applies not only to a Member’s personal campaign for office, but also other campaigns for municipal, provincial and federal office.”

If the investigation by the City Clerk or designate determines that a City employee contravened this Policy and/or its Procedures, the failure on the part of an employee to comply with this Policy and/or its Procedures may result in corrective action as appropriate, including discipline up to and including dismissal.

References

Advisory Committee Members’ Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct for Members of Council

Code of Conduct for Citizen Members of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee

Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy

Corporate Communications Policy/City of Ottawa Visual Identity Guidelines

Council Expense Policy

Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures

Employee Code of Conduct

Integrity Commissioner Interpretation Bulletin on the Use of Social Media

Parks and Facilities By-law

Signs on City Roads By-law

Social Media Protocol

Temporary Signs on Private Property By-law

Transit By-law

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Canada Elections Act

Election Finances Act

Municipal Act, 2001

Municipal Elections Act, 1996

Definitions

“Blackout period” is the 60-day period prior to and including Voting Day in relation to the occurrence of a municipal election or by-election.

“Campaign materials” means any materials used to solicit votes for, or opposition to, a candidate or campaign related to a question on the ballot, including but not limited to literature, banners, posters, pictures, buttons, clothing, or other paraphernalia. Campaign materials also include but are not limited to materials in all media, such as print, displays, electronic, radio or television and online sources including websites or social media.

“Campaigning” means any activity by or on behalf of a candidate, registered third party advertiser, political party, or campaign related to a question on a ballot meant to elicit support for, or opposition to, a candidate, registered third party advertiser, political party, or campaign related to a question on a ballot. Campaigning does not include the appearance of elected officials, other candidates, registered third party advertisers or ballot question campaign members at an event in their personal capacity without the display of any signage, graphics or campaign-related clothing, buttons and other paraphernalia that identify the individual as a candidate, registered third party advertiser or ballot question campaign member and without the solicitation of votes (including distribution of campaign materials).

“Candidate” means any person who has filed and not withdrawn a nomination for an elected office at the municipal (including school board), provincial or federal level in an election or by-election.

“City resources” means, but is not limited to: City employees/City staff, City events, City facilities, City funds, City information and City infrastructure, as follows:

  • “City employees” and “City staff” – All non-union management and exempt employees, and all members of City bargaining units. This includes full-time, part-time, casual, temporary, seasonal and contract employees, and employees in the offices of Members of Council.
  • “City events” – Events funded or organized by City departments and/or Members of Council, including events that may be jointly organized with community organizations or with external sponsors. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Announcements relating to City programs, policies and other initiatives, including funding announcements;
    • Celebratory, commemorative, educational or memorial events;
    • Community meetings, consultations and other gatherings;
    • Facility openings; and
    • Open houses.
  • “City facilities” – Any facility that is owned or leased by the City of Ottawa and/or its departments and that is directly managed and operated by City departments or programs. This includes the Ward Offices of Members of Council.
  • “City funds” – Funding support provided through the City’s annual operating or capital budgets, including but not limited to funds provided directly to City programs and services as well as Members’ Constituency Services Budgets.
  • “City information” – Any information in the custody and control of the City, including databases that may be the repository of names, contact information, business records, financial information or other identifiers compiled and used by City employees to conduct City business.
  • “City infrastructure” – Any physical or technology systems that support the operation of City programs and services, including but not limited to City fleet vehicles, public display signage, computer network, telecommunications and email system, wireless equipment, computer hardware, software and peripherals, internet and intranet.

“Communications materials” means materials produced for the purpose of communicating with residents, including but not limited to business cards, email signature blocks, letterhead, newspaper columns, flyers, photographs, householders, newsletters, advertisements, media releases, mail outs and emails. Communications materials include materials in all media, such as print, displays and other physical formats, electronic, radio or television and online sources including websites or social media.

“Contribution” means the general definition set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996 (MEA), which includes but is not limited to the following:

  • For an election campaign – As set out in Subsection 88.15(1) of the MEA: “… [M]oney, goods and services given to and accepted by a person for his or her election campaign, or given to and accepted by another person who is acting under the person’s direction, are contributions.”
  • For third party advertisements – As set out in Subsection 88.15(2) of the MEA: “… [M]oney, goods and services given to and accepted by an individual, corporation or trade union in relation to third party advertisements, or given to and accepted by another person who is acting under the direction of the individual, corporation or trade union, are contributions.”

“Elected officials” means individuals elected to Ottawa City Council, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the House of Commons, or a school board.

“Member’s annual community event” means an event that has been staged by a Member of Council in the previous two years (with similar event name/title, same approximate date and same general purpose).

“Members” means the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Ottawa.

“Political party” means a political party for a provincial and/or federal election that is registered in accordance with applicable provisions of Ontario’s Election Finances Act or the Canada Elections Act.

“Question on the ballot” means any question or by-law submitted to the electors by Council, a school board or other elected local board, or the Minister of Municipal Affairs under the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.

“Registered third party advertiser” means, in relation to a municipal election, an individual, corporation or trade union that is registered with the City Clerk, as per Section 88.6 of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, whose purpose is to promote, support or oppose a candidate for office, or an issue on a question on a ballot, and is not under the direction of a candidate.

“Third party advertisement” means an advertisement in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium that has the purpose of promoting, supporting or opposing a candidate, or a “yes” or “no” answer to a question on the ballot, but does not include an advertisement by or under the direction of a candidate, as per the definition established under Subsection 1(1) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996. Further to Subsection 1(2) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, an advertisement is deemed not to be a third party advertisement if the person or entity that causes the advertisement to appear in any broadcast, print, electronic or other medium incurs no expenses in relation to the advertisement. Furthermore, as per Subsection 1(2.1) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, an advertisement is deemed not to be a third party advertisement when it is given or transmitted by an individual to his or her employees, by a corporation to its shareholders, directors, members or employees or by a trade union to its members or employees.

“Voting Day” means the day the final vote is to be taken in an election or by-election, as set out in the applicable legislation (municipal, provincial or federal).

Enquiries

For more information on this policy, contact:

M. Rick O'Connor
City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 21215
rick.oconnor@ottawa.ca

Appendices

Appendix 1 - Election-Related Blackout Period Procedures

Petition Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: December 8, 2010 

Policy statement

The City of Ottawa is committed to citizen engagement and supports petitions as one tool for citizens to have input into Council’s decision making process.

A petition can be most effective when the information contained in it is accurate and verifiable, and when the petition is recognized and accepted by decision makers.

Purpose

This policy outlines the City of Ottawa’s procedure for receipt and recognition of public petitions.

Application

This policy applies to all petitions submitted to the City of Ottawa, with the exception of those governed by another Act (such as drainage and local improvement petitions).

Policy requirements

Petition requirements

  • The petition must be addressed to the City of Ottawa/Ottawa City Council (or the Transit Commission) and request a particular action within the authority of Council.
  • Petitions must be legible, typewritten or printed in ink (no pencil).
  • The text of the petition must be listed at the top of each page for multiple-page petitions. Pages should be numbered and total number of pages indicated.
  • The petition must be appropriate and respectful in tone, and must not contain any improper or offensive language or information.
  • Each petitioner must print and sign his or her own name. A paper petition must contain original signatures only, written directly on the petition.
  • Each petitioner must provide his or her full address.
  • For electronic petitions, petitioners must provide name, address and a valid e-mail address.
  • The petition must clearly disclose on each page that it will be considered a public document at the City of Ottawa and that information contained in it may be subject to the scrutiny of the City and other members of the general public.

Submission of petitions

  • Petitions containing original signatures should be sent to the attention of the City Clerk by mail or delivered in person to Ottawa City Hall or City of Ottawa Client Service Centre.
  • Petitions may also be submitted to the Mayor or any member of City Council.
  • Electronic Petitions may be submitted to the attention of the City Clerk at petitions@ottawa.ca.
  • All petitions that meet the above standards will be presented to Council (or the Transit Commission) at its next regular meeting, or the meeting at which the subject of the petition is to be discussed.
  • Standing Committees cannot formally accept petitions. Petitions received at Standing Committees will be forwarded to the Clerk and presented to full Council at its next regular meeting, or the meeting at which the subject of the petition is to be discussed
  • Council has the discretion to accept the petition, and Council’s decision is final.

Responsibilities

The City Clerk is responsible for receiving all petitions and submitting them to the attention of Council or the Transit Commission.

City Council members are responsible for forwarding all petitions received by their offices to the attention of the Clerk.

Monitoring/contraventions

The City Clerk will evaluate all petitions to ensure that the requirements of the policy are met.

Petitions deemed to be in non-compliance will not be formally accepted by Council or the Transit Commission.

However they will be listed as “other correspondence received” on the appropriate Standing Committee or Council agenda, if applicable.

Retention and disclosure

All petitions submitted to the City will be retained by the City Clerk’s office. Petitions meeting the requirements of this policy and therefore presented to and received by Council or the Transit Commission will be kept on file at the Office of the City Clerk and will be available for public viewing upon request.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, a petition is a formal written request made to the City of Ottawa, Council or one of its Standing Committees.

Enquiries

Office of the City Clerk
Legislative Services Branch
Deputy City Clerk
110 Laurier Avenue West,
Ottawa ON K1P 1J1

Petition form

The petition form and more information on how to submit a petition can be found on the Submitting a petition to Council page.

Pregnancy and Parental Leave for Members of Council Policy

Approved By: City Council
Section: City Clerk
Approval Date: November 22, 2017
Effective Date: January 1, 2018
Revision Date: February 1, 2021 (Housekeeping revisions)

Policy Statement

The City of Ottawa recognizes a Member of Council’s right to take leave for the Member’s pregnancy, the birth of the Member’s child or the adoption of a child by the Member in accordance with the Municipal Act, 2001 and the Procedure By-law.

Definitions

Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave – an absence of 20 consecutive weeks or less as a result of a Member’s pregnancy, the birth of a Member’s child or the adoption of a child by the Member in accordance with Section 259(1.1) of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Purpose

This policy provides guidance on how the City of Ottawa addresses a Member’s pregnancy or parental leave in a manner that respects a Member’s statutory role as an elected representative.

Application

In accordance with Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001, this policy applies to Members of Council.

Policy Requirements

City Council supports a Member of Council’s right to pregnancy and/or parental leave in keeping with the following principles:

  1. A Member of Council is elected to represent the interests of their constituents.
  2. A Member’s pregnancy and/or parental leave does not require Council approval and their office cannot be declared vacant as a result of the leave.
  3. Legislative and administrative matters requiring action during a Member’s pregnancy and/or parental leave should be addressed in a manner that is consistent with the Member’s wishes.
  4. A Member of Council on pregnancy and/or parental leave shall reserve the right to exercise their delegated authority at any time during their leave.

Where a Member of Council will be absent due to a pregnancy and/or parental leave, subsection 83(14) of the Procedure By-law sets out the process for the temporary assignment of the Member’s concurrence under the Delegation of Authority By-law and the Member’s committee membership(s) in accordance with the Member’s wishes and the delegation of routine, administrative and human resources matters of the ward office, to the City Clerk.

Notwithstanding, at any point in time during a Member’s pregnancy or parental leave, the Member reserves the right to exercise their delegated authority on matters within the Ward. The Member shall provide written notice to the City Clerk of their intent to lift any of the Council-approved, temporary delegations and exercise their statutory role or delegated authority.

Responsibilities

Members of Council and City staff are responsible for adhering to the parameters of this policy.

Monitoring/Contraventions

The City Clerk shall be responsible for monitoring the application of this policy and for receiving complaints and/or concerns related to this policy.

References

Delegation of Authority By-law
Procedure By-law

Legislative and Administrative Authorities

Section 270 of the Municipal Act, 2001 requires that the City adopt and maintain a policy with respect to the pregnancy and parental leaves of Members of Council.

Enquiries

City Clerk
Office of the City Clerk
City of Ottawa
Telephone: 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Provincial Offences Act - Conflict of Interest Policy

Committee recommendation

That Council approve the program’s Conflict of Interest Policy as outlined in Attachment 1.

Documentation

  1. General Manager, Corporate Services Department report dated 27 March 2001 is immediately attached (ACS2001-CRS-SEC-0023)

Report to Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee and Council

27 March 2001

Ref N°:ACS2001-CRS-SEC-0023

Report recommendation

That the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee recommend Council approve the program’s Conflict of Interest Policy as outlined in Attachment 1.

Background

The Provincial Offences Act (POA) is a procedural statute that prescribed the manner in which offences, including those created under municipal by-laws, are to be administered and prosecuted. In essence, all POA contraventions are dealt with through the issuance of a ticket. The POA prescribes the manner of serving notice of an offence to a defendant, payment periods, method of conducting the trials, sentencing and appeals. The Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for the administration of this legislation.

The Legislative Assembly enacted Bill 108, the Streamlining of Administration of Provincial Offences Act, 1997. The Bill amends the Provincial Offences Act to allow the Attorney General to enter into agreements with municipalities permitting them to undertake court administration and support functions. It also provides for the transfer of most prosecutions responsibilities to the local municipality. This Bill was part of the Provincial government overall review dealing with the re-alignment of public service delivery.

Prior to the start of the amalgamation process, some urban municipalities and the Region had obtained Council approval to initiate preparations for this transfer of jurisdiction. With the emergence of the local government re-structuring exercise as the overriding priority in the past year, no substantial progress was achieved on this project. With the creation of the “new” City of Ottawa, project personnel are working in an expeditious fashion with the Ministry of the Attorney General to bring this project to a successful conclusion.

Discussion or analysis

Part of the transfer requirements stipulated by the Ministry of the Attorney General include the enactment of a Council approved policy dealing with the matter of conflict of interest within the context of the administration and prosecution of POA infractions. Attachment 1 outlines the proposed policy. The proposed policy reflects closely the standard that has been employed in many other municipalities that have already assumed responsibility for this program.

The principles of the POA conflict of interest policy are as follows:

  • All persons involved in the administration and prosecutions of the Provincial Offences Court shall endeavour to carry out such duties in a manner that upholds the integrity, fairness and impartiality of the administration of justice;
  • No person shall attempt to influence or interfere, either directly or indirectly, with any employee or other persons performing duties in the administration of justice; and
  • The policy applies to employees or officers of the City of Ottawa, persons contracting with the Corporation for the performance of duties under the transfer Agreement and elected officials.

Consultation

The policy was prepared by the office of the City Clerk in consultation with the City Solicitor. The Ministry of the Attorney General has reviewed the policy and has confirmed that it will meet the requirements.

Financial implications

There are no direct financial implications associated with the approval of these recommendations.

Attachments

Attachment 1 – Draft POA Conflict of Interest Policy.

Disposition

City Clerk and City Solicitor to implement the POA Conflict of Interest Policy.

Attachment 1

Conflict of Interest Policy

Pursuant to the Transfer of Administration Support Provincial Offence

WHEREAS the Ministry of Attorney General requires all Municipal Partners to establish a Council approved Conflict of Interest Policy specifically detailed to address matters relevant to the administration of the Provincial Offences Act (POA) program;

WHEREAS the administration of the Provincial Offences Court by the Municipal Partner pursuant to the Transfer Agreement must be conducted in accordance with fundamental principles of justice, which include judicial and prosecutorial independence, fairness, impartiality, competence and integrity;

WHEREAS the policy shall apply to employees, officers, elected representatives and to any person contracting with The Corporation of the City of Ottawa for the performance of services under the Transfer Agreement;

THEREFORE, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor are directed to implement the Conflict of Interest Policy, as set out below, for all matters relating to the administration of the Provincial Offences Court in the Court Service Area of Ottawa;

1.0 Principles of Conflict of Interest Policy

1.1 Conflict of Interest Policy shall apply to all employees, officers, elected representatives of The Corporation of the City of Ottawa and to any person contracting with The Corporation of the City of Ottawa for the performance of services under the Transfer Agreement.

1.2 No person shall attempt to influence or interfere, either directly or indirectly, financially, politically or otherwise with employees, officers or other persons performing duties under the transfer Agreement.

1.3 All persons involved with the administration and prosecution functions of the Provincial Offences Court shall endeavour to carry out such duties in a manner which upholds the integrity of the administration of justice.

2.0 Oath of Office

2.1 All employees involved with the administration functions shall swear or affirm an oath as established by the City Solicitor in accordance with this policy.

2.2 All municipal prosecutors engaging in prosecutions under the Transfer Agreement shall swear or affirm an oath as established by the City Solicitor in accordance with this policy.

3.0 Obligation to Report

3.1 Any person performing duties under the Transfer Agreement shall report any attempt at improper influence to the Municipal Partner or local Crown Attorney.

3.2 No action shall be taken against the person for making any such report in good faith.

3.3 An employee or other person performing duties under the Transfer Agreement contacted by an elected official with respect to the administration of justice and matters before the court shall immediately disclose such contact to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.4 Where an employee or other person performing duties under the Transfer Agreement has been charged with an offence created under a federal statute or regulation or a provincial statute or regulation, and where continuing to perform his or her duties may erode public confidence in the administration of justice, the charge shall be disclosed to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.5 Upon notification, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor shall determine if any actual or perceived conflict of interest exists and, if so, shall take appropriate action to address the conflict.

3.6 A prosecutor shall disclose any actual or reasonably perceived conflict as soon as possible to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.7 Where a prosecutor is charged with an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada or any other federal statute or regulation that is dealt with under the Criminal Code of Canada, such charge shall be disclosed to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor forthwith.

3.8 Where a prosecutor is charged with an offence under other federal statutes or regulations thereunder or a provincial statute or regulation thereunder and where continuing to perform his or her duties may erode public confidence in the administration of justice, the charge shall be disclosed to the City Clerk and the City Solicitor.

3.9 The City Clerk and the City Solicitor shall determine if any actual or perceived conflict exists and, if so, the City Clerk and the City Solicitor shall take appropriate action to address the conflict.

4.0 Prosecution Guidelines

4.1 Prosecutors acting under the terms of the Transfer Agreement, in addition to the above, shall adhere to the following conflict of interest guidelines:

4.1.1 A person employed as a prosecutor shall not also be employed as an enforcement officer;

4.1.2 A prosecutor shall be supervised by or report to the City Solicitor or another lawyer designated for this purpose;

4.1.3 A prosecutor shall not hold or have held a municipal political office within the preceding 12 months;

4.1.4 A prosecutor shall not be placed or place him or herself in a position where the integrity of the administration of justice could be compromised; and

4.1.5 A prosecutor shall not, personally or through any partner in the practice of law act or be directly or indirectly involved as counsel or solicitor for any person in respect of any offence charged against the person under the laws in force in Ontario, unless it relates to his/her own case.

5.0 Implementation

5.1 All elected representatives of the City of Ottawa shall be provided with a copy of this policy following the conduct of a regular or by-election.

5.2 This policy shall be incorporated into the Human Resources policies with governing the conduct of municipal employees.

5.3 All personnel involved in the administration of the POA program shall be supplied with a copy of this policy.

6.0 Breach

6.1 Breach of this policy by any employee or officer of the City may result in disciplinary action.