In serving the public, a member of a local board (restricted definition) (a “member”) is expected to meet the highest standards of conduct to maintain and foster the City of Toronto’s reputation and integrity.
As required by section 157(1) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, Council has adopted this Code of Conduct for Members of Local Boards (Restricted Definition) recognizing the following principles apply to the interpretation of its provisions and their role:
1.0 In the Code of Conduct:
a) “Council” means the Council of the City of Toronto.
b) “local board” means a local board as defined in section 156 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006.
c) the terms “child”, “parent” and “spouse” have similar meanings as in the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act:
1. “child” means a child born within or outside marriage and includes an adopted child and a person whom a parent has demonstrated a settled intention to treat as a child of their family;
2. “parent” means a person who has demonstrated a settled intention to treat a child as a member of their family; and,
3. “spouse” means a person to whom the person is married or with whom the person is living in a conjugal relationship outside marriage.
d) “confidential information” means information in the possession of, or received in confidence by a local board that the local board is: prohibited from disclosing or using for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was received; required to refuse to disclose under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; restricted from using or disclosing under the Criminal Code; restricted from using or disclosing under the Securities Act; restricted from using or disclosing due to contractual obligations or policies of the local board or City Council.
e) a “lobbyist” is an individual, corporation, other person, or a partnership or organization governed by the City’s Lobbying By-law (the Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 140, Lobbying, inclusive of the Lobbyist Code of Conduct) that:
1. is lobbying or causing the lobbying of any public office holder at the City, a local board (restricted definition) or the board of health;
2. the member knows is intending to lobby, having submitted or intending to submit a registration to the Lobbyist Registrar for approval to communicate on a subject matter; or,
3. is maintaining an active lobbyist registration with the City even though not having a current active subject matter registered with the lobbyist registry.
2.0 This Code of Conduct applies to members of local boards (restricted definition). The Code of Conduct for Members of Adjudicative Boards applies to members of the City of Toronto’s adjudicative boards.
2.1 Members of Council are bound by the Code of Conduct for Members of Council. However, when a Member of Council is acting in their capacity as a member of a local board, the Member of Council is also bound by the provisions of this Code of Conduct that are specific to the requirements of a local board.
3.0 This Code of Conduct operates together with:
a) the City of Toronto Act, 2006;
b) Chapter 27, Council Procedures, of the Toronto Municipal Code (the Council Procedures By-law) passed under section 189 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006;
c) the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
d) the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
e) the Ontario Human Rights Code;
f) the Securities Act; and,
g) the Criminal Code.
4.0 A member must not accept fees, advances, gifts or personal benefits that are connected directly or indirectly with the performance of their duties of office, unless permitted by the exceptions listed below.
4.1 Fees, advances, gifts or personal benefits provided to a member’s spouse, child, or parent, or to a person on a member’s staff that are connected directly or indirectly to the performance of that member’s duties are deemed to be a gift to that member if they are accepted with the member’s knowledge.
4.2 Subject to the other conditions noted below, a member may accept the following gifts or benefits:
|1. Permitted Compensation||Compensation authorized by law.|
|2. Official Gifts||Such gifts or benefits that are received as an incident of protocol or social obligation.|
|3. Gifts from an Event Honouring a Member||A suitable memento of a function honouring the member.|
|4. Sponsored Travel and Related Expenses||Food, lodging, transportation and entertainment provided by provincial, regional and local governments or political subdivisions of them, by the Federal government or by a foreign government within a foreign country, or by a conference, seminar or event organizer where the member is either speaking or attending in an official capacity.|
|5. Food and Beverages at Events||Food and beverages consumed at banquets, receptions or similar events, if:
a) attendance serves a legitimate business purpose for the local board on which the member serves;
b) the person extending the invitation or a representative of the organization is in attendance; and,
c) the value is reasonable and the invitations infrequent.
Gifts from Lobbyists
4.3 A member may not receive any gifts from a lobbyist or the employer or client of a lobbyist.
Gifts over $500
4.4 A member may only accept gifts or benefits with a total value greater than $500 from any one source during a calendar year if they are:
a) Permitted Compensation (Exception 1); or,
b) Sponsored Travel and Related Expenses (Exception 4).
All other gifts or benefits with a total value greater than $500 from any one source during a calendar year are prohibited
Disclosure of Gifts exceeding $300
4.5 A disclosure statement must be filed with the Integrity Commissioner if a member accepts gifts or benefits that exceed $300 from any one source in a calendar year that are:
a) Official Gifts (Exception 2);
b) Gifts from an Event Honouring a Member (Exception 3);
c) Sponsored Travel and Related Expenses (Exception 4); or,
d) Food and Beverages at Events (Exception 5).
4.6 Within 30 days of the receipt of gifts or benefits under 4.6 that exceed $300 from any one source in a calendar year, a member must file a disclosure statement with the Integrity Commissioner that sets out:
a) the nature of the gift or benefit;
b) its source and date of receipt;
c) the circumstances under which it was given or received;
d) its estimated value;
e) what the recipient intends to do with any gift; and,
f) whether any gift will at any point be donated to the City or the local board.
4.7 The disclosure statement will be a matter of public record.
4.8 On receiving a disclosure statement, the Integrity Commissioner must review whether it raises a question of whether there is a conflict between a private interest and the public duty of a member. If that is the case, the Integrity Commissioner must ask that member to justify receipt of the gift or benefit.
4.9 If the Integrity Commissioner decides that the member’s explanation does not justify the receipt of the gift as being appropriate, the Integrity Commissioner must advise the member. The Integrity Commissioner may require the member to return the gift, reimburse the donor for the value of any gift or benefit already consumed, or forfeit the gift or remit the value of any gift or benefit already consumed to the City or local board.
5.0 A member must not:
a) disclose or release to any unauthorized person, including a member of the public, any confidential information acquired by virtue of their office, in either oral or written form, except when required by law or authorized by the local board or Council to do so;
b) use confidential information for personal or private gain, or for the gain of relatives or any person or corporation;
c) disclose the content of any matter that has been discussed at a closed meeting under the Council Procedures By-law, or similar provisions of the local board’s procedure by-law and subject to applicable legislation governing the procedures of the local board, because it constitutes confidential information. No member shall disclose the content of any such matter or the substance of deliberations of the closed meeting until the local board, or if applicable, Council or one of its committees discusses the information at a meeting that is open to the public or releases the information to the public; or,
d) access or attempt to gain access to confidential information in the custody of the City unless it is necessary for the performance of their duties and not prohibited by the local board or Council policy.
5.1 Generally, the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act restricts or prohibits disclosure of confidential information received from third parties of a corporate, commercial, scientific or technical nature, information that is personal, and information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege.
5.2 Improper use of confidential information for personal or private gain includes a member, directly or indirectly, benefiting or aiding others to benefit from knowledge respecting bidding on the sale of local board or City property or assets.
5.3 Section 190(2) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006 sets out a list of information that is to be treated as confidential. When the Code of Conduct refers to “confidential information” that a member must keep confidential, it is referring to that list. The list includes information about:
a) the security of the property of the City or local board;
b) personal matters about an identifiable individual, including a city employee or a local board employee;
c) a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the City or local board;
d) labour relations or employee negotiations;
e) litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the City or local board;
f) advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;
g) a matter in respect of which the city council, board, committee or other body may hold a closed meeting under another Act;
h) information explicitly supplied in confidence to the City or local board by Canada, a province or territory or a Crown agency of any of them;
i) a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial, financial or labour relations information, supplied in confidence to the City or local board, which, if disclosed, could reasonably be expected to prejudice significantly the competitive position or interfere significantly with the contractual or other negotiations of a person, group of persons, or organization;
j) a trade secret or scientific, technical, commercial or financial information that belongs to the City or local board and has monetary value or potential monetary value; or,
k) a position, plan, procedure, criteria or instruction to be applied to any negotiations carried on or to be carried on by or on behalf of the City or local board.
6.0 A member must not:
a) use or permit the use of local board or City resources for activities other than the business of the local board or the City; or,
b) obtain personal financial gain from the use or sale of local board or City-developed intellectual property since all such property remains exclusively that of the local board or City.
6.1 City resources include local board or City land, facilities, equipment, supplies, services, staff, materials, websites, local board and City transportation delivery services and member’s expense budgets.
6.2 Local board or City-developed intellectual property includes computer programs, technical innovations, inventions, creative writings and drawings and other items capable of being patented.
7.0 A member must follow the provisions of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996.
7.1 A member must not:
a) use the facilities, equipment, supplies, services or other resources of the City, including the local board’s newsletters and websites linked through the local board’s or City’s website, for any election campaign or campaign-related activities;
b) undertake campaign-related activities on the local board’s or City property during regular working hours unless permitted by City policy; or,
c) use the services of persons for election-related purposes during hours in which those persons receive any compensation from the local board or the City.
7.2 City policies permit all-candidates meetings to be held on City property, so a member is permitted to participate in such an event.
8.0 A member must not:
a) be involved in their capacity as a member in any activity where they have a real or apparent conflict of interest;
b) use the influence of their office for any purpose other than for the exercise of their official duties;
c) use their official status to improperly influence the decision of another person to the private advantage of themself, or their parents, children or spouse, staff members, friends, or associates, business or otherwise; or,
d) try to secure preferential treatment beyond activities in which members normally engage in the carrying out of their official duties.
8.1 Conflicts of interest are common occurrences that need to be addressed proactively and promptly to ensure a member is acting with integrity and is seen to be doing so.
8.2 Conflicts of interest arise when the private interest of a member conflicts with their official duties. A private interest may include, but is not limited to, a pecuniary interest as defined by the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) or the pecuniary interests of a member’s parent, spouse or child. When considering if they have a real or apparent conflict of interest, a member needs to consider their obligations under both the Code of Conduct and the MCIA. A member may need to declare the interest and recuse themself from voting and discussing the matter with others. For that reason, a member should consult the Integrity Commissioner for advice when such questions arise.
8.3 A real conflict of interest exists when what a member does, or does not do, something in carrying out their official duties that is for their actual private advantage. An apparent conflict of interest exists when, even if it is not evident that a member has done or not done something for an actual private advantage, an objective person informed of the circumstances would reasonably conclude that a member would not be able to separate their private interest from how they carry out their official duties. An apparent conflict of interest is the same as a potential conflict of interest.
8.4 For the purposes of 8.0 c) and 8.3, “private advantage” does not include a matter:
a) that is of general application;
b) that affects a member, their parents, children or spouse, staff members, friends, or associates, business or otherwise as one of a broad class of persons; or,
c) that concerns the remuneration or benefits of a member.
9.0 A member must not:
a) act as a paid agent before the local board or provide goods, consulting or other services to the local board directly or through a partnership, professional or closely-held corporation;
b) be a director or hold an executive position with any organization whose objectives and mandates are in conflict with, or may reasonably be perceived to be in conflict with, the objectives and mandates of the local board; or,
c) take on a new executive position without first informing the Chair and obtaining the advice of the Integrity Commissioner about the member’s new circumstances.
9.1 If a member becomes aware that an entity, for which the member has a material interest, is a director, employee or agent, may offer or provide goods, consulting or other services to the local board, the member will disclose these circumstances to the Chair and seek advice from the Integrity Commissioner about the application of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and whether, in consideration of the circumstances, ongoing local board membership is in the best interests of the local board. In providing this advice, the Integrity Commissioner will consider the risk of harm to the reputation of the local board.
10. 0 A member must not allow the prospect of their future employment by a person or entity to detrimentally affect the performance of their duties to the local board and to the City.
11.0 A member must conduct themself with decorum at meetings of the local board in accordance with the local board’s procedure by-law and this Code of Conduct.
11.1 Where the local board’s procedure by-law does not address an issue, members should use the Council Procedures By-law as a reference.
12.0 A member must not:
a) maliciously or falsely injure the professional or ethical reputation, or the prospects or practice of staff, and all members must show respect for the professional capacities of staff;
b) compel staff to engage in partisan political activities or subject them to threats or discrimination for refusing to engage in such activities; or,
c) use, or try to use, their authority or influence for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding, or influencing staff with the intent of interfering with a person’s duties, including the duty to disclose improper activity.
12.1 Members must respect that staff of the local board and staff of the City to provide advice based on political neutrality and objectivity and must be permitted to do so without undue influence from any individual member or faction of the local board.
13.0 A member must not:
a) engage knowingly in communications in respect of the list of subject matters contained in the definition of “lobby” as set out in the City’s Lobbying By-law with a person who is not registered as required by that By-law; or,
b) knowingly communicate with a registered lobbyist who is acting in violation of the City’s Lobbying By-law.
13.1 If a member is or at any time becomes aware that a person is in violation of the City’s Lobbying By-law, the member must refuse to deal with the lobbyist or, where appropriate:
a) terminate the communication with the lobbyist at once; or,
b) if in the member’s judgment it is appropriate to continue the communication, at the end of the communication, draw that person’s attention to the obligations imposed by the City’s Lobbying By-law.
13.2 A member must report any violation or attempted violation of the City’s Lobbying By-law to the Lobbyist Registrar unless the member believes in good faith that the violation in communicating or attempting to communicate with the member was inadvertent or insignificant.
13.3 Lobbying of public office holders is a permissible but regulated activity in the City of Toronto. Lobbying is defined in the City’s Lobbying By-law.
13.4 Members are public office holders. As a matter of general principle, as public office holders, members should familiarize themselves with the terms of the City’s Lobbying By-law.
14.0 In connection with their office, a member must:
a) Not engage with others, including the public, City staff and other members, in a manner that is abusive, bullying, intimidating or derogatory.
b) Ensure that their work environment is free from discrimination and harassment.
14.1 The Ontario Human Rights Code applies to a member’s activity and if applicable, the City’s Human Rights and Anti-harassment/discrimination Policy and the City’s Hate Activity Policy.
15.0 A member must observe the terms of all policies and procedures established by the local board and any Council policy and procedures that apply to the local board or its members, unless they have first requested and been granted an exemption by Council or the local board.
16.0 A member must not take reprisal, or threaten reprisal, against anyone:
a) who has complained to the Integrity Commissioner; or,
b) who has provided relevant information to the Integrity Commissioner.
16.1 A member must not obstruct an investigation by the Integrity Commissioner.
16.2 Members should respect the integrity of the Code of Conduct and investigations conducted under it.
16.3 Destruction of documents or the erasing of electronic communications is considered obstruction.
17.0 Any written advice given by the Integrity Commissioner to a member binds the Integrity Commissioner in any subsequent consideration of the conduct of the member in the same matter as long as all the relevant facts known to the member were disclosed to the Integrity Commissioner.
18.0 Section 160(5) of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, authorizes Council as well as local boards, to impose either of two penalties on a member following a report by the Integrity Commissioner that finds there has been a violation of the Code of Conduct:
a) a reprimand; or,
b) suspension of the remuneration, if applicable, paid to the member in respect of their services as a member of the local board, as the case may be, for a period of up to 90 days.
18.1 In the case of a member of the local board who is also a member of Council, Council may also consider suspension of the remuneration, paid to the member in respect of their services as a Member of Council, for a period of up to 90 days.
18.2 City Council or a local board that has authority to do so, may take the following actions following a report by the Integrity Commissioner:
a) Remove a member from their membership on a committee, sub-committee or panel of a local board or City Council.
b) Remove a Chair of a local board, or a committee or subcommittee of a local board or of Council.
c) Require the repayment or reimbursement of moneys improperly received by the member or received by another person at the direction of the member.
d) Require the return of a gift or benefit or reimbursement of its value.
e) A request for an apology to the local board, Council, the complainant, or to a combination of any of them.
This content is available to download as a PDF: Code of Conduct for Members of Local Boards.