Code of Ethics
The purpose of the Code of Ethics is as follows:
- To provide guidance to Council members so as to ensure that each are accorded reasonable and fair treatment.
- To assist Council members in avoiding problems relating to role problems.
- To preserve the integrity of the Council and administration.
- To protect the individual rights of Council members as normal citizens.
Council recognizes that its allegiance and loyalties are to the community as a whole and not to any individual(s) or group(s).
Relationships to Council Members and/or Administration
Each Council member shall ensure that their behaviour prior to, during, or following a meeting or public hearing, towards other Council members, members of the administration, and representatives of the public is at all times:
- courteous, professional, fair and unbiased;
- contributes to the preservation of orderly decorum in a hearing;
- avoids sarcasm, derogatory comments, or questions or comments designed to embarrass; and
- is respectful of the rulings of the Council as a whole.
These guidelines are additional to any requirements at law and do not excuse any member from complying with any common law or statute law.
Each member has a responsibility to ensure that all persons are:
- treated fairly regardless of race, gender, religion, age, disability, or occupation;
- dealt with in good faith;
- dealt with without bias and in an even-handed temper; and
- given an adequate opportunity to state their case.
As Chair of Council and other meetings of Council, the Mayor (or whoever is filling the role of Chair of that meeting) will not tolerate:
- discourtesy by one party to another;
- rudeness to members of staff or the public; and/or
- disruptive behaviour.
Authority and Powers
Both Council and its administration will respect the need for clear roles and powers. This aspect will be reviewed regularly to ensure that all parties are clear in this regard.
Each member of Council will respect the legislation which accords to Council the authority to make policy decisions which guide the actions of the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) (and administration). As well, the Council will respect that authority which has been granted to the CAO by legislation and/or by-law and/or policy.
Council members will refrain from attempting to direct the actions or unduly or inappropriately influence individual members of staff. The authority to direct the administration has been delegated to the CAO.
Requests for Information
Council members will direct their requests for information or action to the office of the CAO or to the appropriate Senior Management Team member. If the matter is subject to a current policy, the administration will respond as quickly as possible in filling the request.
If the request is not covered by a current policy, it will be forwarded to the CAO who will place the matter before the Council to receive its direction.
Council and administration will recognize and support the value of clear and consistent policies which convey the values and beliefs of Council as to what constitutes a reasonable and fair “policy”. The administration, under the guidance of the Chief Administrative Officer, will draft policy statements for the approval of Council. Approved policies of Council will be implemented as expeditiously as possible and circulated throughout the organization.
Conflict of Interest
Neither Council members nor members of the administration will act in such a way as to constitute a conflict of interest. All residents will be treated equally. No special favour will be granted unless it is approved by a legal resolution of the Council. Decisions on matters of pecuniary interest (either direct or indirect), which impact family members in a way not consistent with the population as a whole, will be deferred pending the advice of the municipality’s solicitor.
In this, as in all matters, the legislation will prevail.
The official decisions of Council will be conveyed to the public and all others by way of Council resolutions, by-laws and policies. These decisions will be conveyed by the Mayor (or as delegated to another member of Council, the CAO or other senior municipal official) to the media and to the public.
Any other comment on Council positions by any other member of Council, which is not consistent with the official position of Council, should be prefaced as personal opinion only.
A Council member is not restricted in any public statement they choose to make, but as a member of Council they are expected to:
- support the role of the Council and the performance of duties of its administration;
- support the current policies of Council; and
- support the decisions of the Council.
Any statement made by a member of Council, which is contrary to the policies and decisions of Council, should be prefaced as personal opinion only.
Any requests by the media to members of the administration for comment or information on matters pertaining to a matter within the jurisdiction of the Council and not yet subject to an approved policy should be immediately referred to the CAO or the appropriate Senior Management Team member (unless otherwise delegated).
Acceptance of Gifts
A member of Council is expected to avoid any actual or reasonable apprehension of bias in the acceptance of gifts and shall;
- accept only those token gifts of protocol or social obligation that occur in normal business relationships, and
- not accept a fee, gift or other benefit that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of the duties of her/her office.
All gifts which exceed an individual value of $100 shall be reported as early as possible to the CAO.
A member is to be alert to any attempt of bribery and shall:
- reject bribery in any form, and
- report any attempt or perceived attempt to bribe to the Mayor and CAO.
Each member of Council and the administration is expected to avoid any actual or reasonable apprehension of bias in dealings with relatives (defined as immediate family) and shall not attempt to influence or persuade the administration to favour any family member in any dealing with the municipality (e.g. employment, tenders, contracts, etc.).
Each member of Council and administration shall retain in confidence any matters presented to the Council or a committee in confidence and/or dealt with during an in-camera meeting of Council or a committee.
Adherence to Code, Act and Procedures
Each member of Council shall:
- adhere to all aspects of this code of ethics;
- adhere to the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001;
- adhere to the requirements of Council policies and procedures.