Province looks to strengthen codes of conduct

·1 min read

TORONTO – The Ontario government is launching a consultation process to look at municipal codes of conduct to ensure elected officials are acting in ethical and responsible manners.

Steve Clark, minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing said that the government wants to gather input “to ensure there are adequate mechanisms in place to hold council members accountable for any unacceptable behaviour.”

He added, “It’s critical that everyone feels safe and respected in the workplace, and that they know there are accountability measures in place for members who violate codes of conduct.”

The consultation process will look at codes of conduct in how elected officials maintain a safe and respectful workplace, and how they enact their duties.

Ethical issues have been in the regional news the past two years after multiple codes of conduct complaints against Ottawa city councillor Rick Chiarelli.

Chiarelli was the subject of two investigations by Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner Robert Marleau after multiple allegations of inappropriate conduct involving female staff employed at, or applying for jobs with his office.

In those instances, Ottawa Council suspended Chiarelli’s pay for 270 days and 180 days. Council also restricted his interactions with staff and removed him from committee roles.

Chiarelli has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

No timeline for when the ministry consultations will take place has been set. Ministry officials say that the consultations will deal with sensitive topics and not everyone will be comfortable sharing their stories and opinions in the same forum.

Planning for the consultation is underway by MMAH officials and details of that consultation will be released at a later date.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader