The Code of Conduct reinforces the City of Sarnia’s Accountability and Transparency Policy and other relevant legislation within which all members of Council and local boards must operate. The Code of Conduct establishes a general standard for acceptable conduct to which all Members are expected to adhere to and comply with.
The Code of Conduct is intended to set a high standard of conduct for Members in order to provide good governance and an enhanced level of public confidence in the administration of the City by its Members as duly elected public representatives to ensure that they each operate from a foundation of integrity, justice, truth, honesty and courtesy.
An Integrity Commissioner has been appointed by the Council of the City of Sarnia to provide independent and consistent complaint investigation and resolution, respecting the application of the Code of Conduct.
Complaint Procedures – Informal & Formal
There are two complaint procedures:
Informal Complaint Procedure
Individuals or organizations, who have identified or witnessed behaviour or an activity by a Member that they believe is in contravention of the Code of Conduct may seek to address the prohibited behaviour or activity themselves in the following manner by following the Informal Complaint Procedure:
a) advise the Member that their behaviour or activity appears to contravene the Code of Conduct;
b) encourage the Member to stop the prohibited behaviour or activity;
c) keep a written record of the incidents including dates, times, locations, other persons present, and any other relevant information;
d) if applicable, confirm to the Member that you are satisfied with the response you received; or advise the Member of your dissatisfaction with the response;
e) consider the need to pursue the matter in accordance with the formal complaint procedure, or in accordance with another applicable judicial or quasi-judicial process or complaint procedure.
Individuals and organizations are encouraged to initially pursue this Informal Complaint Procedure as a means of stopping and remedying a behaviour or activity that they believe contravenes the Code of Conduct. A person is not required to undertake the Informal Complaint Procedure prior to pursuing the Formal Complaint Procedure.
Formal Complaint Procedure
Code of Conduct
Any individual who identifies or witnesses behaviour or activity by a Member that they reasonably believe contravenes the Code of Conduct may file a formal complaint to request an inquiry by the Integrity Commissioner as to whether a Member has contravened the Code of Conduct in accordance with the following requirements:
(a) all complaints shall be in writing on the prescribed form (Formal Complaint Procedure Affidavit – Form #1) and shall be dated and signed by an identifiable individual (which includes the authorized signing officer of an organization);
(b) the complaint shall set out reasonable and probable grounds for the allegation that the Member has contravened the Code of Conduct and must be accompanied by a supporting sworn affidavit that sets out the evidence in support of the allegation; and
(c) Council or a local board may also file a complaint against any of its Members of an alleged contravention of the Code of Conduct by passing a resolution requesting the Integrity Commissioner to undertake an inquiry.
Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
An elector, as defined in section 1 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, or a person demonstrably acting in the public interest (collectively, a “complainant”) may file a formal request that the Integrity Commissioner carry out an inquiry concerning an alleged contravention of section 5, 5.1 or 5.2 of that Act by a Member in accordance with the following requirements:
(a) all requests (also referred to as “complaints”) shall be in writing on the prescribed form (Formal Complaint Procedure Affidavit – Form #2) dated and signed by an identifiable individual;
(b) the request shall include a statutory declaration attesting to the fact that:
(i) the complainant became aware of the contravention not more than six (6) weeks before the date of the complaint, or
(ii) in the case where the complainant became aware of the alleged contravention during the period of time described in paragraph 1 of subsection 223.4.1(5) of the Municipal Act, 2001, that the complainant became aware of the alleged contravention during that period of time;
(c) Council may also pass a resolution requesting the Integrity Commissioner to undertake an inquiry respecting an alleged contravention of section 5, 5.1 or 5.2 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by a Member and provide a statutory declaration as required by Section 19.1(2)(b).
The complaint may be filed with the City Clerk or directly with the Integrity Commissioner by a sealed hard copy or by email.
Office of the City Clerk
2nd Floor, City Hall
255 Christina St. N. P.O. Box 3018
Sarnia, ON N7T 7N2
Paul D. Watson, Integrity Commissioner
84 Dover Street, Suite 1
Chatham, ON N7M 5K8