That Council approve the program’s Conflict of Interest Policy as outlined in Attachment 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
That the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee recommend Council approve the program’s Conflict of Interest Policy as outlined in Attachment 1.
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.
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.
There are no direct financial implications associated with the approval of these recommendations.
Attachment 1 – Draft POA Conflict of Interest Policy.
City Clerk and City Solicitor to implement the POA Conflict of Interest Policy.
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.
5.1 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.
6.1 Breach of this policy by any employee or officer of the City may result in disciplinary action.