To submit comments by email: email@example.com
The Integrity Commissioner can be reached at 905-957-3346 ext. 6737
Integrity Commissioner’s Biography :
Suzanne Craig graduated with a BA from the University of Toronto. After having completed post-graduate studies at the American University, Ms. Craig attended the Doctor of Law program at the University of Rome, Italy and the Masters of Law program at Osgoode Hall Law School.
Ms. Craig has a detailed understanding of the procedures, rules and investigative processes of the various provincial and municipal agencies, boards and commissions. Ms. Craig has a professional background of engagement in good governance, fair information processes and social justice. Proficient with the legal principles involved in conducting investigations and natural justice, Ms. Craig has been an independent administrative tribunal agent, arbitrator and mediator in Ontario, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Rights, Workplace Safety and Insurance, Consent and Capacity and Tenant Protection. Ms. Craig is also a former lawyer in Italy and forensic investigator in the European banking sector.
Ms. Craig is currently the Integrity Commissioner for 7 other Ontario municipalities.
Integrity Commissioner’s Message:
At any level of government, the public’s perception of ethical government decision-making is critical to its reputation and to the level of public trust and engagement. This perception shapes the public’s opinion about government officials’ personal integrity, honesty and ultimately, the government’s performance. It can overshadow all other values of a government organization, including competence, experience and expertise.
Elected officials are trustees for the public and there is an expectation that they:
• Act with fairness toward all;
• Avoid any interest or activity which is in financial and personal conflict with official duties;
• Responsibly oversee the management of the public purse with the understanding that all monies held by the municipality are for the delivery of official duties regarding Township business;
• Facilitate complete, timely and understandable answers to public inquiries.
It is for the above-noted reasons, that Township of West Lincoln has adopted the Members Code of Conduct and tasked the Office of the Integrity Commissioner with the application and enforcement of the rules of ethics and accountability contained in this document.
The Code of Conduct is an externalized recognition of a common understanding by the Members of Council that ethical behavior is expected by all of its members;
It serves as a guide and reminder of expectations for behaviour and actions for specific and generalized situations;
It is an indication to the public that Members of Council are seriously committed to being held accountable for the responsible and ethical conduct of its members;
Integrity Commissioner Q & As
The following questions and answers include sample questions to other Integrity Commissioners in Ontario.
What are the Commissioner’s main duties?
All elected public officials are subject to a Code of Conduct. The mandate of the Integrity Commissioner is to ensure that these rules of ethics governing elected officials are objectively applied. Duties of the Integrity Commissioner include conducting inquiries into requests made into whether or not a Member of Council has contravened the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is not a static document and as a result, the Integrity Commissioner will make recommendations for changes to the Code, from time to time.
What is the extent of the Integrity Commissioner’s authority?
The Code describes several types of complaints that would be covered by existing legislation or mechanisms. For example, an allegation that may involve a contravention of the Criminal Code of Canada is a police matter, and would not be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner. Likewise, the Integrity Commissioner would not consider a complaint of alleged conflict of interest involving a Member of Council as a remedy is provided under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Contact the Integrity Commissioner to determine if the matter is a Code of Conduct violation.
Who can file a complaint?
An individual, an organization, local boards, advisory committees or Council as a Whole, as well as other Members of Council or local boards, can file complaints under the Complaint Protocol that is contained in Part 3 of the Code of Conduct.
What is the process for filing a complaint?
Members of the public can file a complaint by following the Complaint Protocol (Code of Conduct -January 2015) and completing a signed affidavit (Formal Complaint Procedure Affidavit – Appendix B). The complaint shall be filed with the Township Clerk and then forwarded to the Integrity Commissioner for an initial classification to determine if the matter is, on its face, a complaint with respect to non-compliance of the Code of Conduct.
How is the complaint investigated?
Where an informal resolution cannot be achieved, a formal investigation is undertaken. The elected official is given a copy of the complaint and asked to respond in writing within 10 days to the complaint, with a copy of this response being provided to the complainant. The process could include an interview with the complainant and the Integrity Commissioner. Within 60 days of filing the complaint, the Integrity Commissioner will report general findings of his or her investigation to the complainant and the Member. A final report will be submitted to Council, detailing any contravention of the Code of Conduct and any recommendations. Council determines what action will be taken.
Does the Integrity Commissioner investigate complaints about Township employees?
The Integrity Commissioner does not have any authority over Township employees, including Town Council staff. The activities of the Integrity Commissioner relate to the Council Code of Conduct.
Can an anonymous complaint be filed?
The Complaint Protocol in the Code of Conduct makes no provision for anonymous complaints or for withholding the complainant’s name from the Member of Council. However, the Protocol does include an informal complaint procedure that allows the Integrity Commissioner to have an informal discussion with the Member of Council in an attempt to resolve the issue.
How is the public informed of the Commissioner’s activity?
The Commissioner publishes an annual report indicating the number of complaints and their disposition. Also, the Commissioner will report on complaints received that are not within his or her jurisdiction.