In 2007, the Municipal Act was amended to include several provisions to assist municipalities in being more transparent and accountable to the public.
Section 270 of the Act requires every municipality to adopt and maintain policies for the sale and disposition of land; hiring of employees, procurement of goods and services, public notice, and transparency and accountability.
The Municipal Act also authorizes a municipality to establish a Code of Conduct for members of council and the local boards of the municipality as well as to appoint an Integrity Commissioner who reports to Council and who is responsible for performing, in an independent manner, the functions assigned by the municipality with respect to the application of the Code of Conduct for members of Council and the application of any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality governing the ethical behaviour of members of Council.
The Act also requires a municipality to appoint a closed meeting investigator to investigate complaints as to whether a municipality has complied with the requirements of the Act regarding open meeting requirements.
The Integrity Commissioner is an independent and impartial position that reports directly to County Council and whose powers and duties are set out in the Municipal Act, 2001.
Responsibilities of the Integrity Commissioner:
- Investigate complaints and alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council.
- Review the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and make recommendations on an annual basis.
- Serve as an advisor to individual Members of Council in relation to the Code of Conduct and any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality governing ethical behaviour, and act as a proactive educator for Council, the Civic Administration and the public.
- Provide reports to Council, summarizing his activities.
- Provide individual investigative reports, as required, which will include background concerning a complaint and recommendations to Municipal Council with respect to a complaint
Robert Swayze, Integrity Commissioner
In September 2016, by virtue of By-law #45-2016, Essex County Council entered into an agreement with Robert Swayze for Integrity Commissioner Services
How to File a Complaint Regarding a Possible Violation of the Essex County Council Code of Conduct
If you feel you have reasonable grounds to believe that a member of Essex County Council or a member of a Committee/Board has breached a provision of the Essex County Council Code of Conduct, you can file a complaint. Complaints must be submitted within six (6) weeks of your initial knowledge of the matter and cannot be filed more than six (6) months after the alleged violation occurred. No action will be taken on a complaint received beyond either of the foregoing deadlines.
You do not have to pursue the informal complaint process set out in 'Part A - Informal Complaint Procedure', prior to proceeding with the formal complaint process set out in 'Part B - Formal Complaint Procedure'.
Complete Instructions on How to File a Complaint
Code of Conduct
Essex County Code of Conduct for Council Members, Committees and Boards
Appendix A - Essex County Council Code of Conduct - Formal Complaint Process Affidavit
Schedule A - Additional Information to Formal Complaint Form/Affidavit
Appendix B - Disclosure Statement (For Council Members)
Appendix C - Statement of Commitment (For Council Members)
A fee of $125 is required when submitting a complaint. This fee is 100% refundable if after the investigation is complete and results in a complaint being deemed 'valid'.
Commissioner of Oaths
To inquire about a Commissioner of Oaths, please contact the Clerk for the County of Essex.