COUNCIL CODE OF CONDUCT COMPLAINT PROTOCOL

PART A:       INFORMAL COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
 
Any person or a representative of an organization who has identified or witnessed behaviour or an activity by a member of Council that they believe is in contravention of the Council Code of Conduct  (the  “Code”)  may  wish  to  address  the  prohibited  behaviour  or activity themselves as follows:
 
(1)       advise the member that the behaviour or activity contravenes the Code;
(2)       encourage the member to stop the prohibited behaviour or activity;
(3)       keep a written record of the incidents including dates, times, locations, other persons present, and any other relevant information;
(4)       if applicable, confirm to the member your satisfaction with the response of the member; or, if applicable, advise the member of your dissatisfaction with the response; and
(5)       consider  the  need  to  pursue  the  matter  in  accordance  with  the  formal complaint procedure outlined in Part B, or in accordance with another applicable judicial or quasi-judicial process or complaint procedure.
 
All persons and organizations are encouraged to initially pursue this informal complaint procedure as a means of stopping and remedying a behaviour or activity that is prohibited by the Code. With the consent of the complaining individual or organization and the member, the Integrity Commissioner may be part of any informal process. However, it is not a precondition or a prerequisite that those complaining must pursue the informal complaint procedure before pursuing the Formal Complaint Procedure in Part B.
 
 
PART B:       FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCEDURE: 
 
Integrity Commissioner Requests for Inquiries
 
1.  (1)    A request for an investigation of a complaint that a member has
contravened the Code of Conduct (the “complaint”) shall be sent directly to the Integrity Commissioner by mail, E-mail, fax or courier in the form attached to this Protocol as Schedule “A”.
 
(2)    All complaints shall be signed by an identifiable individual (which includes the authorized signing officer of an organization).
 
(3)   A complaint shall set out reasonable and probable grounds for the allegation   that the member has contravened the Code.  For example, the complaint should include the name of the alleged violator, the provision of the Code allegedly contravened, facts constituting the alleged contravention, the names and contact information of witnesses, and contact information for the complainant during normal business hours.
 
(4)     The integrity Commissioner shall not accept any complaint from any person which arises from the conduct of a member(s) that occurred, or such conduct was first learned of by the complainant, six (6) months prior to receipt of such complaint by the Integrity Commissioner.  
 
(5)    For any Complaint received from and after August 1 in any municipal election year, the Integrity Commissioner shall stay any investigation required by such complaint until the day after the inaugural meeting of the new Council and until then, shall keep such complaint confidential.
 
Initial Classification by Integrity Commissioner
 
2.  (1)   Upon receipt of the request, the Integrity Commissioner shall make an initial classification to determine if the matter is, on its face, a complaint with respect to non-compliance with the Code and not covered by other legislation or other Council policies as described in subsection (3).
 
(2)    If the complaint is not, on its face, a complaint with respect to non- compliance   with the Code or the complaint is covered by other legislation or a 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 force;
 
(b)       if the complaint on its face is with respect to non- compliance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the complainant shall be advised that the matter will be referred for review to the City Clerk;
 
(c)        if the complaint on its face, is with respect to non- compliance with a more  specific Council policy with a  separate  complaint  procedure, the complainant shall be advised that the matter will be processed under that procedure; and
 
(d)       in other cases, the complainant shall be advised that the matter, or part of the matter, is not within the jurisdiction of the  Integrity  Commissioner  to process, with any additional reasons and referrals as the Integrity Commissioner considers appropriate.
 
(3)          The Integrity Commissioner may report to Council that a specific complaint is not within the jurisdiction of the Integrity Commissioner.
 
(4)          The Integrity Commissioner shall report annually to Council on complaints not within the jurisdiction of the Integrity Commissioner, but, where possible, shall not disclose information that could identify a person concerned.
           
Integrity Commissioner Investigation
 
3.    (1)    The Integrity Commissioner is responsible for performing the duties set out in this Protocol independently, and shall report directly to Council in respect of all such matters.  The Integrity Commissioner shall file an annual report to City Council respecting the advice, education and investigations carried out in the previous year, and developments or recommendations of significance related to the role of the Integrity Commissioner.
 
(2)    If the Integrity Commissioner is of the opinion that a complaint 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 conduct an investigation, or, where that becomes apparent in the course of an investigation, terminate the investigation.
 
(3)    Other than in exceptional circumstances, the Integrity Commissioner   will   not   report   to   Council   on   any complaint described in subsection (2) except as part of an annual or other periodic report.
 
4.    (1)    If a complaint has been classified as being within the Integrity Commissioner’s jurisdiction and not rejected under section 3, the Commissioner shall investigate and may attempt to settle the complaint.                 
(2)    Upon receipt of a formal complaint pursuant to the Code, and where the Integrity Commissioner determines that the complaint meets the criteria to be investigated, the Integrity Commissioner may elect to conduct an informal investigation or alternatively to exercise the powers of a Commission under Parts I and II of the Public Inquiries Act, as contemplated by Subsection 223.4(2) of the Act.
 
(3)    If the Integrity Commissioner elects to conduct an inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act, he/she shall report to Council and seek instructions before proceeding, setting out the reasons for the investigation and providing an estimate of the expected cost and time that the investigation will require.
 
(4)    When the Public Inquiries Act applies to an investigation of a complaint, the Integrity Commissioner shall comply with the procedures specified in that Act and this Complaint Protocol, but, if there is a conflict between a provision of the Complaint Protocol and a provision of the Public Inquiries Act, the provision of the Public Inquiries Act prevails.
 
5.     (1)    The Integrity Commissioner will proceed as follows, except where otherwise required by the Public Inquiries Act:
 
(a)  serve the complaint and supporting material upon the member whose conduct is in question with a request that a written response to the allegation by way of affidavit or otherwise be filed within ten days; and
 
(b)  the Integrity Commissioner may serve a copy of the  response provided upon the complainant with a request  for a written reply within ten days.
 
(2)     If necessary, after reviewing the written materials, the Integrity Commissioner may speak to anyone relevant to the complaint, access and examine any of the information described in subsections 223.4(3) and (4) of the Municipal Act, and may enter any City work location relevant to the complaint for the purposes of investigation and settlement.
 
(3)    The Integrity Commissioner shall not issue a report finding a violation of the Code of Conduct on the part of any member unless the member has had reasonable notice of the basis for the proposed finding and any recommended sanction and an opportunity either in person or in writing to comment to the Integrity Commissioner on the proposed finding and any recommended sanction.
 
(4)    The Integrity Commissioner may make interim reports to Council where necessary and as required to address any instances of interference, obstruction or retaliation encountered during the investigation.
 
6.      (1)    The Integrity Commissioner shall report to the complainant and the member generally no later than 90 days after the making of the complaint.
 
(2)    Where the complaint is sustained in whole or in part, the Integrity Commissioner shall also report to Council outlining the findings, the terms of any settlement, or recommended corrective action.
 
(3)     Where the complaint is dismissed, other than in exceptional circumstances, the Integrity Commissioner shall not report to Council except as part of an annual or other periodic report.
 
(4)     Any recommended corrective action must be permitted in law and shall be designed to ensure that the inappropriate behaviour or activity does not continue.
 
7.             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 judgement made in good faith, the Integrity Commissioner shall so state in the report and shall recommend that no penalty be imposed.
 
8.             The City Clerk shall process the report for the next meeting of Council.
 
Council Review
 
9.      (1)      Council shall consider and respond to the report within 90 days after the day the report is laid before it.
 
(2)     In responding to the report, Council may vary a recommendation that imposes a penalty, subject to Section 223.4, subsection (5) of the Municipal Act, but shall not refer the recommendation other than back to the Integrity Commissioner.
 
(3)     Council can terminate the Integrity Commissioner only by a two-thirds vote of all members.
 
(4)    Upon receipt of recommendations from the Integrity Commissioner, Council may, in circumstances where the Integrity Commissioner has determined there has been a violation of the Code of Conduct, impose either of two penalties:
 
(a)     a reprimand; or
(b)    suspension of the remuneration paid to the Member in respect of his/her services as a Member of Council or a local board, as the case may be, for a period of up to 90 days
 
(4)     The Integrity Commissioner may also recommend that Council take the following actions:
 
(a)      removal from membership of a committee;
(b)     removal as chair of a committee;
(c)      repayment or reimbursement of monies received;
(d)     return of property or reimbursement of its value;
(e)      a written and/or verbal request for an apology to Council, the complainant, or both.
 
Confidentiality
 
10.   (1)    A complaint will be processed in compliance with the confidentiality requirements in sections 223.5 and 223.6 of the Municipal Act, which are summarized in the following subsections.
 
(2)     The Integrity Commissioner and every person acting under her or his instructions shall preserve secrecy with respect to all matters that come to his or her knowledge in the course of any investigation except as required by law in a criminal proceeding.
 
(3)     All reports from the Integrity Commissioner to Council will be made available to the public.
 
(4)     Any references by the Integrity Commissioner in an annual or other periodic report to a complaint or an investigation shall not disclose confidential information that could identify a person concerned.
 
(5)     The Integrity Commissioner in a report to Council on whether a member has violated the Code of Conduct shall only disclose such matters as in the Integrity Commissioner’s opinion are necessary for the purposes of the report.