Section 3 - Formal Complaints
Any individual who identifies or witnesses behaviour or an activity by a sitting Member of Council or a citizen member of the Transit Commission, that they believe is in contravention of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, may file a formal complaint in accordance with the following conditions:
(a) All complaints shall be made in writing and shall be dated and signed by an identifiable individual.
(b) The complaint must set out reasonable and probable grounds for the allegation that the Member has contravened the Code of Conduct. A supporting affidavit setting out the evidence in support of the allegation must also be included.
(c) If the complainant is a Member of Council, a citizen member of the Transit Commission or the staff person of a Member of Council, their identity shall not be protected if the Integrity Commissioner finds that the complaint was not made in good faith.
(d) City Council and the Transit Commission may also file a complaint and/or request an investigation of any of its membership by public motion.
Section 4 - Filing of Complaint and Classification by Integrity Commissioner
- The complaint shall be filed with the Integrity Commissioner for initial classification to determine if the matter is, on its face, a complaint with respect to non-compliance with the Code of Conduct and not covered by other legislation or other Council policies as described in Section 5.
- If the complaint does not include a supporting affidavit, the Integrity Commissioner may defer the classification until an affidavit is received.
Section 5 - Complaints Outside Integrity Commissioner Jurisdiction
If the complaint, including any supporting affidavit, is not, on its face, a complaint with respect to non-compliance with the Code of Conduct or the complaint is covered by other legislation or complaint procedure under another Council policy, the Integrity Commissioner shall advise the complainant in writing as follows:
(a) If the complaint on its face is an allegation of a criminal nature consistent with the Criminal Code of Canada, the complainant shall be advised that if the complainant wishes to pursue any such allegation, the complainant must pursue it with the appropriate Police Service.
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(b) If the complaint is more appropriately addressed under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the complainant shall be advised that the matter must be referred to the City Clerk for Access and Privacy review.
Other Policy Applies
(c) If the complaint seems to fall under another policy, the complainant shall be advised to pursue the matter under such policy.
Lack of Jurisdiction
(d) If the complaint is, for any other reason not within the jurisdiction of the Integrity Commissioner, the complainant shall be so advised and provided with any additional reasons and referrals as the Integrity Commissioner considers appropriate.
Matter Already Pending
(e) If the complaint is in relation to a matter which is subject to an outstanding complaint under another process such as a Human Rights complaint or similar process, the Integrity Commissioner may, in his/her sole discretion and in accordance with legislation, suspend any investigation pending the result of the other process.
Section 6 - Periodic Reports to Council
The Integrity Commissioner shall report to Council semi-annually during the first year, and annually thereafter. In his/her report to Council, he/she shall report on all complaints received and, on their disposition, (including complaints deemed not to be within the jurisdiction of the Integrity Commissioner).
Section 7 - Refusal to Conduct Investigation
If the Integrity Commissioner is of the opinion that the referral of a matter to him or her is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith, or that there are no grounds or insufficient grounds for an investigation, the Integrity Commissioner shall not investigate and, where this becomes apparent in the course of an investigation, shall terminate the investigation.
Section 8 - Opportunities for Resolution
- Following receipt and review of a formal complaint, or at any time during the investigation, where the Integrity Commissioner believes that an opportunity to resolve the matter may be successfully pursued without a formal investigation, and both the complainant and the Member agree, efforts may be pursued to achieve an informal resolution.
- The Integrity Commissioner may also decide during his investigation that complaints relating to the following matters may not be Code of Conduct issues and may more appropriately be dealt with through other channels. With the consent of the complainant, the Integrity Commissioner may refer complaints as follows:
- Formal complaints related to the interaction of municipal staff and Members of Council may be handled by the City Manager and the City Clerk, in consultation with the Mayor’s Office.
- Formal complaints pertaining to matters involving current and former Councillors’ Assistants may be handled by the City Clerk.
- Formal complaints concerning matters between one or more Members of Council may be handled by the Finance and Economic Development Committee.
Section 9 - Investigation
- The Integrity Commissioner will proceed as follows, except where otherwise required by the Public Inquiries Act:
- Provide the complaint and supporting material to the member whose conduct is in question with a request that a written response to the allegation be provided within ten business days; and
- Provide a copy of the response provided to the complainant with a request for a written reply within ten business days.
- If necessary, after reviewing the submitted materials, the Integrity Commissioner may speak to anyone, access and examine any other documents or electronic materials and may enter any City work location relevant to the complaint for the purpose of investigation and potential resolution.
- The Member who is the subject of the investigation may consult with a lawyer and charge this to their office budget. If the complaint is determined to have merit, the Integrity Commissioner may require the Member to reimburse these expenses to the City. If the subject of the investigation of a citizen member of the Transit Commission, the costs may be expensed to the Council administration budget through the Clerk’s office.
- The Integrity Commissioner may make interim reports to Council where necessary and as required to address any instances of interference, obstruction, delay or retaliation encountered during the investigation.
- If the Integrity Commissioner has not completed an investigation before Nomination Day for a regular election, as set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Integrity Commissioner shall terminate the inquiry on that day.
- If an investigation is terminated in accordance with Subsection 9(4), the Integrity Commissioner shall not commence another inquiry in respect of the matter unless, within six weeks after Voting Day in a regular election, the complainant who made the request or the member or former member whose conduct is concerned makes a written request to the Integrity Commissioner that the investigation be commenced.
- The Integrity Commissioner shall retain all records related to the complaint and investigation.
Section 10 - No Complaint Prior to Municipal Election
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Protocol, no complaint may be referred to the Integrity Commissioner, or forwarded by the Clerk for review and/or investigation during the period of time starting on Nomination Day and ending on Voting Day in any year in which a regular municipal election will be held, as set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
Section 11 - Recommendation Report
- The Integrity Commissioner shall report to the complainant and the member generally no later than 90 days after the intake process has been completed and an investigation has been commenced. If the investigation process takes more than 90 days, the Integrity Commissioner shall provide an interim report and must advise the parties of the date the report will be available.
- Following the completion of an investigation, the Integrity Commissioner shall provide the Member with a copy of a draft report and offer the Member the opportunity to provide comments within five business days.
- Where the complaint is sustained in whole or in part, the Integrity Commissioner shall report to Council outlining the findings, the terms of any settlement and/or any recommended corrective action.
- The Integrity Commissioner shall give a copy of the report to the complainant and the Member whose conduct is concerned. The Member shall have the right of reply when the report is considered by Council.
- Where the complaint is not sustained, except for in exceptional circumstances, the Integrity Commissioner shall not report to Council the result of the investigation except as part of an annual or other periodic report.
Section 12 - Member not Blameworthy
If the Integrity Commissioner determines that there has been no contravention of the Code of Conduct or that a contravention occurred although the Member took all reasonable measures to prevent it, or that a contravention occurred that was trivial or committed through inadvertence or an error of judgment made in good faith, the Integrity Commissioner may so state in the report and may make appropriate recommendations pursuant to the Municipal Act, 2001.
Section 13 - Report to Council
Upon receipt of a report, the Clerk shall indicate, on the next agenda of City Council, Notice of Intent from the Integrity Commissioner to submit a report for consideration at the following regular meeting of City Council.
Section 14 - No Reports Prior to Municipal Election
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Protocol, the Integrity Commissioner shall not make any report to Council or to any other person during the period of time starting on Nomination Day and ending on Voting Day in any year in which a regular municipal election will be held, as set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
Section 15 - Duty of Council
Council shall consider and respond to the report at the next meeting of Council after the day the report is laid before it.
(a) Council shall not consider whether to impose sanctions on a Member, where the Integrity Commissioner makes a report to Council regarding a contravention of the Code of Conduct, during the period of time starting on Nomination Day and ending on Voting Day in any year in which a regular municipal election will be held, as set out in the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
Section 16 - Public Disclosure
- The Integrity Commissioner and every person acting under his or her jurisdiction shall preserve confidentiality where appropriate and where this does not interfere with the course of any investigation, except as required by law and as required by this complaint protocol.
- The Integrity Commissioner shall retain all records related to the complaint and investigation.
- At the time of the Integrity Commissioner’s report to Council, the identity of the person who is the subject of the complaint shall not be treated as confidential information if the Integrity Commissioner finds that a breach has occurred.
- All reports from the Integrity Commissioner to Council will be made available to the public on ottawa.ca.