Tomorrow, July 25, in Committee of the Whole, Council will be discussing the City’s draft Code of Ethics By-law. If approved, it would mean approval in principle of the code and a request to the Province to amend the City Act to permit the enactment of the Code.
External Counsel, working with the office of the City Solicitor and the Dept of Human Resources, have prepared a draft Code in part based in part on the September 2015 report by Clyde Wells on the City’s Existing Ethical Conduct Legislation, as well as best practices across municipalities and a review of other materials including our current bylaws.
The Code seeks to create a simplified process for the enforcement of ethical behaviour at the City under one governing bylaw. The goal is to ensure that employees, council and all affiliated groups understand and comply with ethical obligations. The Code seeks to create a process to hold those who breach ethical obligations accountable.
The City does not have legal authority to enact the Code as drafted. A provincial amendment would be required to the City Act. Once amended, we would repeal the current Code of Ethics By-Law, Conflict of Interest By-Law, Workplace Human Rights By-Law, Election Finance By-Law, Whistleblower By-Law, and Freedom of Information By-Law.
The (draft) purpose of the Code is to:
a) encourage and maintain public confidence and trust in governance and administration in the City
b) promote integrity in the conduct of the affairs and operations of the City
c) provide Persons with guidelines for identifying, resolving and/or avoiding conflicts of interest, breaches of trust and unethical behaviour
d) encourage a respectful organization that is free of harassment and unlawful discrimination
e) promote transparency in governance
f) promote the protection of confidential information
g) promote high standards of professional conduct and values among Persons
I’m glad to see this much-needed proposal finally nearing a conclusion. Respectful workplaces in government is critical and this will go a long way in helping foster that at City Hall.
Read through the working draft and let me know what you think! One note from my perspective is that I believe that campaign finance provisions ought to be subject to Council’s decision on election finance after the independent panel is finished with its recommendations.