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September 28, 2016 – Report Regarding Councillor Conduct in Relation to the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB)

City Council requested that the Integrity Commissioner provide advice about members’ interactions with the TLAB. In this report, the Commissioner provides the following advice:

Interacting with the LAB Nominating Panel and the Appointment Process

  1. Members of City Council and their staff should not request information from any person in the Office of the City Clerk with respect to the work of the LAB Nominating Panel.
  2. Members of City Council and their staff should not have discussions with members of the LAB Nominating Panel while the Nominating Panel is constituted.
  3. When provided with recommendations for nominees to the TLAB, City Council should either: adopt the recommendation(s); or, request that the Nominating Panel return with alternate recommendation(s). City Council should not substitute its own nominee(s) in place of the recommendations of the Nominating Panel.

Interacting with the TLAB

  1. Members of City Council and their staff should not have any discussions with any member of the TLAB.
  2. Members of City Council and their staff should not appear before or make representations of any kind to the TLAB in relation to a specific matter.

Representing the public and advancing the well-being of the City with respect to TLAB matters

  1. Members of City Council may represent the public and advance the well-being of the City as it relates to matters that come before the TLAB by participating in decisions about whether the City should take positions for or against matters at the TLAB.
  2. Members of Council and their staff may provide information to the community about matters coming before the TLAB and about the TLAB’s policies, procedures and processes. When communicating about the TLAB members of Council should use care to enhance the public’s awareness that the TLAB is independent from City Council and the City Planning Division.

At its November 8 and 9, 2016 meeting City Council received the advice and requested that the Commissioner monitor the TLAB’s first year of operation and provide additional advice in the future. The Commissioner expects to report back to City Council pursuant to its request in 2019.

Memorandum

Date:
April 20, 2011
To:
Members of Council
From:
Linda L. Gehrke, Lobbyist Registrar
Janet Leiper, Integrity Commissioner
Subject:
Lobbying During Procurements

This memo is a reminder to Members of Council that lobbyists are prohibited from communicating with public office holders during a procurement process, except as permitted by the applicable procurement policies and documents.

In City procurements, the City’s Procurement Processes Policy prohibits lobbying from the date the REOI, RFQ, RFP or other tender document is released until the award or the contract. This is commonly called a “blackout period”. If the award or the contract is made by Council or a committee of Council, the blackout period includes the period of time up to the decision awarding the contract.

The lobbying prohibition applies to all lobbyists, whether or not they are bidders in the procurement.

Lobbying is prohibited during the period before a committee or Council meeting where the award or the contract is considered. Lobbyists are permitted to make presentations and submissions to Council and committees, but they must not communicate with councillors in private conversations about a procurement during a procurement process. In addition, the Code of Conduct for Members of Council provides that members of Council should not knowingly communicate with a lobbyist who is acting in breach or the Lobbying By-law.

We would suggest as a best practice that your administrative staff ask lobbyists who wish to speak with you whether they wish to speak about a procurement. Meetings and calls from lobbyists about procurements should be declined.

We are happy to advise you about any questions you may have concerning lobbying in a particular situation. Our advice is confidential. For questions about the Members’ Code of Conduct. you may reach Janet Leiper al 416-397-7770. For questions about the Lobbying By-law and lobbyists, you may reach Linda Gehrke at 416-338-5865, a Lobbyist Registry Advisor at 416-338-5858 or Stephen Littlejohn, Inquiries and Investigations Counsel, at 416-338-6620.

Best regards,

Linda L. Gehrke,
Lobbyist Registrar

Janet Leiper,
Integrity Commissioner

This protocol, issued by the Lobbyist Registrar and Integrity Commissioner, clarifies the obligations of members of council or their staff acting on their behalf when they receive unsolicited written or electronic communications.

Chapter 140 of the Toronto Municipal Code, Lobbying defines lobbying as communication with a public office holder about listed subjects, which generally relate to decisions that Council, its committees or other City officials may make. Communication is defined as «expressive contact, including written and electronic communication».

Article XIII, Conduct Respecting Lobbyists of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council provides in part:

Members of Council and their staff are public office holders. As a matter of general principle, as public office holders, members of Council should be familiar with the terms of this Lobbying By-law inclusive of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct (Chapter 140).

Specifically, members of Council should not engage knowingly in communications in respect of the list of subject matters contained in the definition of “Lobby” as set out in Chapter 140 with a person who is not registered as required by Chapter 140. Members of Council should also not knowingly communicate with a registered lobbyist who is acting in violation of Chapter 140. (Underlining added.)

A member does not contravene this Article when a member (or the member’s staff on the member’s behalf) simply receives an unsolicited written or electronic communication. This exception applies if the member (or the member’s staff acting on the member’s behalf) does not take any action on the basis of the communication or respond to the communication. This exception also applies if the member (or staff acting on behalf of the member) sends a form letter in response to all unsolicited communications. When this exception applies, there is no duty on the member to take further action under this Article.

May 21, 2009