Description of Mandate
The Office of the Integrity Commissioner (“OIC”) will review, and, where appropriate, investigate complaints relating to compliance by any member (the "Member") of the City of Brampton Council (the "Council") with respect to their alleged unethical behaviour, or violations of the Code of Conduct (the "Code"), in accordance with the City of Brampton By-Law 200-2014 (the "By-Law"). The OIC may make recommendations to Council as a result of its investigation.
The Integrity Commissioner will have the authority to conduct investigations on behalf of the OIC. The Integrity Commissioner may delegate their authority to another member of the successful vendor's organization by providing a written notice describing the terms of the delegation to the City of Brampton Chief Administrative Officer.
Step 1 - Intake
Every complaint received by the OlC office shall be assigned a file number. An intake officer ("IO") will open a file accordingly and record the complainant's name and contact information. When the complaint does not relate to an alleged ethical violation by a Member, or an alleged breach of the Code, the IO will refer, if practicable, the complainant to the appropriate place (including, where the matter involves City of Brampton administration, to the Brampton call-in centre).
Where the complaint relates to an alleged ethical violation by a Member or an alleged breach of the Code, the IO will refer the matter to the OlC's Facilitated Resolution Officer ("FRO") for further examination and review. The FRO will be a lawyer trained and experienced in alternative dispute resolution.
Step 2 - Facilitated Resolution Officer Review
Upon receiving a complaint from the IO, the FRO will first determine whether the complaint is within the OlC’s mandate. If the complaint is outside the OIC's mandate, the FRO will so advise the complainant, and the file will be closed.
If the FRO determines that the complaint is appropriate for further review, the FRO will send a Complaint Submission Form to the complainant.
Step 3 - lnitial View Letter
Upon receiving the completed and signed Complaint Submission Form from the complainant, the FRO will assess whether an investigation would be practical. If the FRO determines that an investigation would be unlikely to result in a sanction or any other action to be taken by Council or a Member, the FRO will send a letter ("Initial View Letter") to the complainant explaining why an investigation would not be conducted, and the OIC will then close the file. Otherwise, the matter will proceed to Resolution Facilitation.
Step 4 - Resolution Facilitation
Where the FRO believes that an Initial View Letter would be inappropriate, he/she will consider whether the complaint can be resolved consensually. If the complaint does not impugn a Member's conduct, make an allegation of ethical misconduct involving a Member, or raise an issue of public interest, the FRO will first attempt to resolve the dispute by Resolution Facilitation.
Resolution Facilitation will involve the FRO reviewing the material submitted, and talking to the complainant and other stakeholders to determine whether the stakeholders (including the complainant) agree upon a resolution. If the stakeholders agree on a resolution, the file will be closed.
Where Resolution Facilitation is inappropriate, or does not result in a resolution of the complaint, the OIC may conduct an investigation of the complaint.
Step 5 - lnvestigations
The OIC shall have the power to assess and investigate complaints brought by any of Council, a Member, an employee of Council, or any individual pursuant to the By-Law and Part V.l of the Municipal Act. 200] (Ontario) (the "Municipal Act").
The OIC will conduct its investigation in a way to determine whether a Member has violated the Code, a City of Brampton by-law, the City's policies, procedures, or rules, or any legislation governing Members' ethical behaviour.
The OIC will communicate to the Member the facts on which the complaint is based. Such disclosure shall be affected in the manner deemed appropriate by the OIC, in its discretion. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, this disclosure may be accomplished by, for example: sending the Member a draft copy of the facts; showing the Member the complaint; or showing the Member a document containing the facts as alleged by the complainant. Upon review of the disclosure, the Member shall have an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Nothing in this paragraph requires the OIC to provide a draft Report to the Member.
Where the complaint is sustained in whole or in part, the OIC will deliver its written Report to Council, signed by the Integrity Commissioner or their designate, by way of delivery to the City Clerk. At this time, the OIC will also advise the complainant that the completed Report has been delivered to Council. If the OIC determines that there has been a violation, the OIC may make a recommendation in the Report to Council respecting an appropriate sanction. Council can then decide whether to impose the sanction.
Where the complaint is dismissed, other than in exceptional circumstances, the OIC will not report to Council except as part of an annual or other periodic report. A complaint dismissed by the OIC will be provided to the City Clerk, who will ensure the information is publicly available and provided to the complainant and affected Member.
If the OIC concludes that there is insufficient evidence of a breach of the Code or an ethical violation, the OIC will close the file. The OIC may also close the file where the complaint appears to be frivolous, abusive, or vexatious. In addition, if the OIC at any point determines that nothing further can be accomplished through an investigation or further investigation, or there is unlikely to be a sanction or any other action taken by or respecting Councillor a Member, the OIC has the right to terminate an investigation at such point, and advise the complainant accordingly.
The OIC will exercise its best efforts to complete its investigations within 120 days of its receiving the Complaint Submission Form.
For any complaint received as of 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.
Powers and Duties of the OIC
Pursuant to By-Law 200-2014 and Part V.l of the Municipal Act, the OIC shall have a broad discretion to consider all relevant laws and generally accepted principles of appropriate ethical behaviour. The OIC and all its officers, agents, and employees are neither competent nor compellable as witnesses in any legal, administrative, or other proceeding. Any notes taken by the OIC officers, agents, or employees are not discoverable.
PART B - ADVISORY AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
Upon request from a Member or Council, the OIC will provide written and oral advice respecting the Code and ethical behaviour of Members pursuant to the By-Law. The OIC will provide, as required, outreach programs to Members and staff on ethics, Members' accountability, and the OIC's procedures.
PART C - ANNUAL REPORT
The OIC will create an Annual Report that will provide data on the number of:
• calls received by the IO
• complaints accepted for intake
• files closed prior to investigation, identified by reference to either being outside the OIC
• mandate, Initial View Letter sent, or resolution obtained through facilitation
• investigations opened, closed, and pending
The Annual Report may also contain the OIC's recommendations on best practices for Code compliance, as well as case studies of investigations (with names and events altered to protect confidentiality).
The Integrity Commissioner will sign the Annual Report. The OIC will forward a draft of the Annual Report to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for comment before final release. The OIC will give due consideration to, but will not be bound by, any comments received from the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Within 30 days of receiving feedback, but by no later than 90 days after forwarding the draft Annual Report to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the OIC will release the final Annual Report to Council.
PART D - APPLICATION OF MUNICIPAL ACT
The By-Law, and sections 223.3, 223.4, 223.5, 223.6, 223.7, and 223.8 of the Municipal Act apply, and are incorporated by reference to this Protocol. In the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of the By-Law or the Municipal Act and the Protocol, the By-Law and/or the Municipal Act shall prevail.