The Code of Conduct (“Code”) for Members of Council and Local Board Members (“Members”) supports the Town’s core values of accountability, dedication, honesty, innovation, respect and teamwork. Members are accountable to the citizens of Oakville and are responsible for the assets entrusted to them. Members must demonstrate the highest standards of ethical, business and personal behaviour. Therefore every member is expected to comply with this code and other town policies, procedures and applicable laws.
The principal objective of this code is to outline the behaviours expected of all members.
Agent: Means a representative who acts on behalf of other persons or organizations, but does not include members performing official duties.
By-law: Means a regulation passed by the town or local board for the government of its affairs.
Confidential Information: Means information in the possession of the town or local board:
Employee/Staff: Means a person employed by the town or local board, including those employed on a personal services contract, and volunteers, but does not include Members.
Family Member: Means a parent, spouse, or child of a member, as defined in the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and shall also include a grandparent, grandchild, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece, whether related by blood, marriage or adoption.
Indirect Pecuniary Interest: Means an indirect pecuniary interest as defined in the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and includes a direct or indirect pecuniary interest of a family member, if known to the member.
Integrity Officer: Means the Integrity Commissioner appointed by Council pursuant to the Municipal Act, 2001.
Local Board: Means a local board as defined in section 223.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001.
Members: Means a member of Council or a member of a local board.
Official Duties: Means functions performed by members necessary to demonstrate responsible and accountable government with respect to matters within the town or local board’s jurisdiction, and which are done for the purpose of providing good government with respect to those matters.
Pecuniary Interest: Means an interest that an individual may have in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss for the member, other than a pecuniary interest which is excluded under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Pecuniary Interest also includes a direct or indirect pecuniary interest within the meaning of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
Personal Information: As defined in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.56 (“MFIPPA”), means recorded information about an identifiable individual, and includes,
Town/Local Board Assets/Property: Means all property of the town or local board, including equipment, financial assets, land, vehicles, material, documents, whether in hard or digital/electronic form, inventories, tools, electronic equipment, computers, electronic mail, internet services, and intellectual property.
This code in intended to complement the town or local board’s by-laws and policies, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Municipal Act, 2001, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, the Municipal Elections Act, and all other local laws and the laws of the Province of Ontario and Canada including the Criminal Code, as applicable.
Every Member shall:
Members will communicate decisions of Council and Local Boards both accurately and fully in order to foster respect for the decision and decision-making process. Even in situations where a Member does not personally agree with the decision made, Members are expected to support the decision of the Council or Local Board and its right to make that decision.
Decisions and resolutions made by Council or the Local Board will normally be formally announced to the community and media by the Mayor or local board chair or through media releases issued by the town or the Local Board.
The town is committed to maintaining a healthy, safe and supportive workplace that is free from discrimination, harassment and workplace conflict.
Pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the town will not condone discrimination or harassment with respect to race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability.
It is the responsibility of every member to maintain a positive work environment by always conducting themselves in an appropriate manner in the workplace, at any Council related function or in the public eye.
The town is committed to:
Members shall be respectful of the role of staff to provide advice based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from an individual member or group of members. Staff have a duty and obligation to act in accordance with standards of conduct prescribed for their professions.
Interactions with staff, shall be limited to regular work hours, except in the event of an emergency.
Members acquire confidential information including confidential business and personal information from a variety of different sources. Unless expressly authorized by Council, board resolution or required by law, Members must not release any information that is:
Members shall conduct themselves with decorum at all Council, committee, board meetings and public events. No member shall:
Members of Council are provided with a Discretionary Spending Account for professional development and community outreach. All expenses must be reported in a timely fashion in accordance with the Town’s Council Remuneration, Resources and Expenses policy and related procedures.
Members are expected to represent the public and interests of the town or local board and to do so impartially and objectively. The acceptance of a gift, benefit or hospitality including event tickets can imply favouritism, bias or influence.
Members, their families or staff shall not accept gifts, benefits or hospitality including event tickets that would, to a reasonable person appear to be in gratitude for influence, to induce influence, or otherwise go beyond the necessary and appropriate public functions involved.
Members may accept:
Where a Member has any doubt regarding accepting of a gift, benefit or hospitality, the Member shall consult the Town Clerk.
Members shall not engage in any activity, financial or otherwise, which is inconsistent with the ethical discharge of their duties to the town or local board.
Members shall not:
A member who has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she has breached any of the foregoing, or has a conflict of interest in a matter that is before Council or the Local Board, shall, if present at the Council or Local Board meeting considering the matter:
Members shall avoid waste, abuse and extravagance in the provision or use of public resources.
Members of Council are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, as amended. Use of municipal resources, both actual municipal property and staff time, for election related activity is strictly prohibited, except as outlined in the Use of Corporate Resources during Municipal Elections Procedure. The prohibition applies to both the promotion and opposition of the candidacy of a person for elected office.
Where an organization, employee, member or member of the public has reasonable grounds to believe that a Member has breached this Code, a complaint shall be submitted to the Town Clerk in accordance with corporate policy and procedure.
The Integrity Officer or other designated official, shall be responsible for investigating such complaints and if the parties are in agreement, the complaint may be resolved by way of mediation.
If either party does not participate in the mediation process, if the complaint is not resolved through this process, or the matter is not appropriate for referral to mediation, the Integrity Officer or other designated official shall assume responsibility for investigating the complaint in accordance with the procedures established by Council.
In the case of a complaint of discrimination or harassment, the complainant may file a complaint directly to the Human Resources Department under the Town of Oakville Respectful Conduct policy. The complainant will also be advised of his or her right to advance an application to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
In circumstances where the alleged breach of trust or other misconduct is serious in nature, Council may pass a resolution, pursuant to the Municipal Act, 2001, requesting a judicial investigation into the member’s conduct.
Council Members found to have breached this Code may be subject to discipline including, censure, reprimand or suspension of remuneration, for a period of up to ninety (90) days or where convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, removal from office.
Local Board Members:
Local Board Members found to have breached this Code may be subject to discipline including, censure, reprimand or removal from the local board.
Policy Number: G-GEN-006
Author: Human Resources Department
Effective Date: 2008 Sep 15
Review by Date: 2019
Last Modified: 2018 Apr 03
Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
Municipal Elections Act
Criminal Code of Canada
All Corporate Policies and Procedures