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The Municipality of Port Hope adopted a Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Local Boards on March 5, 2019 by By-law Number 12/2019.

The Code of Conduct applies to all members of Council, including the Mayor and, unless specifically provided with necessary modifications, to all of the Municipality's committees, agencies, boards and commissions and works in conjunction with the Communications Policy which promotes Accountability and Transparency in Municipal Governance.

What is a code of conduct?

A Code of Conduct outlines the rules, roles, and responsibilities of the members to promote accountability and transparency in municipal governance. These roles and responsibilities are outlined for business relations, conduct at meetings, conduct of a political nature, conduct respecting staff, conducting respecting representing the Municipality, protection of confidential information, discreditable conduct, employment of relatives, failure to adhere to Council policies and procedures, receipt of gifts and benefits, and use of Municipal property.

Why does the Municipality of Port Hope have a Code of Conduct Policy?

The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to establish a general standard to ensure that all Members share a common basis for acceptable conduct, and to which all Members are expected to adhere to and comply with. This Code of Conduct operates with, and as a supplement to, the existing Municipal, Provincial and Federal Statues, including but not limited to:

  • Municipal Act, 2001
  • Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
  • Municipal Elections Act, 1996
  • Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • Human Rights Code
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Provincial Offences Act
  • Criminal Code

What is the Integrity Commissioner's Role?

The Integrity Commissioner is a Statutory Officer under the Municipal Act, under contract to the Municipality, with a direct reporting function to Council. As a Statutory Officer, the role of the Integrity Commissioner is an arm's length function with a duty to ensure an unbiased, fair, and appropriate process be undertaken to consider complaints regarding the Municipal Code of Conduct and render a decision. The Office of Integrity Commissioner is led by John Mascarin and currently has a team of five lawyers.

Who is the Municipality of Port Hope's Integrity Commissioner?

The Municipal Act requires, where a Council adopts a Code of Conduct, the Municipality to appoint an Integrity Commissioner to receive and assess alleged breaches of the Municipal Code of Conduct and where deemed appropriate, conduct an investigation of the alleged breach of the Code of Conduct.

The Municipality of Port Hope appointed an Integrity Commissioner, Aird & Berlis LLP by By-law Number 43/2019 on June 4, 2019.

The Integrity Commissioner may be contacted at:
Office of the Integrity Commissioner
c/o John Mascarin
Aird & Berlis LLP
Brookfield Place, 181 Bay Street, Suite 1800
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2T9
Tel: 416-865-7721
jmascarin@airdberlis.com

Interested residents may read the Integrity Commissioner's final report from past investigations within the Municipality.

Accountability Framework

The Accountability Framework ensures that the Municipality of Port Hope complies with the legislative requirements established through the passage of Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario Municipal Legislation Act. Download and review the Municipality's Accountability Framework.

On March 3, 2020, Council adopted the Accountability and Transparency Policy. This policy does not supersede or replace the adopted Accountability Framework, Council and Committee Code of Conduct or Staff and Council Relations Policy but instead looks to further enhance the Municipality's commitments to accountability and transparency.

Complaint Protocol

If you believe that a Member has breached the Code of Conduct or is in non-compliance, there are two options available to you:

Informal Complaint Procedure

1. Any individual who identifies or witnesses behaviour or activity by a Member that they believe contravenes the Code of Conduct may seek to address the prohibited behaviour or activity themselves in the following manner by following the Informal Complaint Procedure:

(a) document the incident(s) where the Member may have contravened the Code of Conduct including dates, times, location other persons present, and any other relevant information;

(b) advise a third party about the concerns regarding the Member's actions;

(c) advise the Member that the behaviour or activity appears to contravene the Code of Conduct;

(d) identify to the Member the specific provision(s) of the Code of Conduct that may have been contravened;

(e) encourage the Member to acknowledge and agree to stop the prohibited behaviour or activity and to undertake to refrain from future occurrences of the prohibited behaviour or activity;

(f) request the Integrity Commissioner to assist in informal discussion of the alleged complaint with the Member in an attempt to settle or resolve the issue;

(g) if applicable:

(i) confirm to the Member that his or her response is satisfactory, or

(ii) advise the Member that his or her response is unsatisfactory;

(h) consider the need to pursue the matter in accordance with the Formal Complaint Procedure, or in accordance with any other applicable judicial or quasi-judicial process or complaint procedure.

2. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pursue the Informal Complaint Procedure as the first means of remedying behaviour or activity of a Member that they believe violates the Code of Conduct.

3. With the consent of both the complaining individual and the Member, the Integrity Commissioner may participate in any informal process. The parties involved are encouraged to take advantage of the Integrity Commissioner's potential role as a mediator/conciliator on issues relating to a complaint.

4. The Informal Complaint Procedure is not a precondition or a prerequisite to pursuing the Formal Complaint Procedure related to the Code of Conduct.

Formal Complaint Procedure

1.(1) Any individual who identifies or witnesses behaviour or activity by a Member that they reasonably believe contravenes the Code of Conduct may file a formal complaint to request an inquiry by the Integrity Commissioner as to whether a Member has contravened the Code of Conduct in accordance with the following requirements:

(a) all complaints shall be in writing on the prescribed form Formal Complaint Form # 1 - Affidavit and shall be dated and signed by an identifiable individual (the “complainant”);

(b) the complaint must set out reasonable and probable grounds for the allegation that the Member has contravened the Code of Conduct and must be accompanied by a supporting sworn affidavit setting out the evidence in full in support of the allegation; and

(c) Council may also file a complaint against any of its Members of an alleged contravention of the Code of Conduct by passing a resolution requesting the Integrity Commissioner to undertake an inquiry.

(2) An elector, as defined in section 1 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, or a person demonstrably acting in the public interest (collectively, a “complainant”) may file a formal request that the Integrity Commissioner carry out an inquiry concerning an alleged contravention by a Member in accordance with the following requirements:

(a) all requests (also referred to as “complaints”) shall be in writing on the prescribed form Formal Complaint Form # 2 - Declaration, dated and signed by an identifiable individual (the “complainant”);

(b) the request shall include a statutory declaration attesting to the fact that:

(i) the complainant became aware of the contravention not more than six (6) weeks before the date of the complaint, or

(ii) in the case where the complainant became aware of the alleged contravention during the period of time described in paragraph 1 of subsection 223.4.1(5) of the Municipal Act, 2001, that the complainant became aware of the alleged contravention during that period of time;

(c) Council may also pass a resolution requesting the Integrity Commissioner to undertake an inquiry respecting an alleged contravention of sections 5, 5.1 or 5.2 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by a Member and provide a statutory declaration as required by Section 1(2).

(3) Complainants who file a formal complaint under Sections 1(1) or 1(2) must provide a full and complete record of evidence to the Integrity Commissioner who is under no obligation whatsoever to, but may, seek additional information to supplement or complete the evidentiary record to substantiate or support the allegations set out in the complaint or request.

The Complaint Forms and all supporting documentation regarding an alleged breach of the Municipal Code of Conduct can be forward to Aird & Berlis, LLP, the Municipal Integrity Commissioner at integritycommissioner@porthope.ca for review, preliminary assessment and appropriate decision on the disposition of the complaint.

 

For more information regarding the Integrity Commissioner role and responsibilities, please contact the Municipal Clerk

 Complaint Forms

There are two (2) forms, Complaint form #1 - Affidavit and Complaint for #2 - Statutory Declaration that must be completed and filed with:

  • The Clerk by hard copy or by email - OR -
  • Directly with the Integrity Commissioner by a sealed hard copy or email to the address set out as stated above.

 

Both forms are available by emailing us or by visiting the Townhall, 56 Queen Street, Port Hope, ON.  

Please phone 905-885-4544 or email us to request a copy of the following documents:

  • By-law 12/2019 - Adopt Accountability Framework
  • Accountability and Transparency Policy
  • By-law Number 43/2019 - Appointed Integrity Commissioner
  • Integrity Commissioner's Final Report