Banner showing Integrity Commissioner logo

The latest news and media releases from the Integrity Commissioner are listed below.

Welcome to the refreshed website of the Office of the Integrity Commissioner.  In this update, I want to tell you about the changes to the website, a new Twitter account and how both of these developments relate to one of this Office’s core functions – education and outreach.

Education and outreach is a key component of the work of this Office.  Citizens rightly expect their elected and appointed public officials to meet the highest standards of conduct.  Those who must meet the standards must therefore have easy ways to understand and adhere to the standards.

Outreach and training occurs on an ongoing basis throughout the year.  For example, as soon as the election was over, I began meeting with new councillors to raise awareness about the Code of Conduct and, in particular, a new policy that addresses the conduct of their staff.  Apart from these one-on-one meetings and other presentations, the website is one of the main tools I have to provide education and outreach.

Frequent users to the website will not notice significant changes to the content.  But, there are changes to how the information is organized.  There is a hub for each of my main stakeholder groups: members of council, members of local boards (restricted definition) and members of adjudicative boards.

One of the priorities for my term is to raise awareness of the Code of Conduct and the role of my office among the local and adjudicative board sectors.  As you will see, there is ample information available for members of council but less information for members of local boards.  My goal is to build up the resources for the latter group.

Another outreach tool that I will use is Twitter.  Twitter is an efficient and vital tool for keeping up to date with news.  I hope that members of council, local boards and their staff, as well as citizens, will find the Office’s Twitter feed useful and informative.  Because I exercise an adjudicative function when investigating complaints, my Twitter account will be neutral and information-focused.   It will not be a forum in which to discuss complaints.  The Twitter account will be used in accordance with the Office’s Twitter Use Principles.

If there is information that you’re looking for that you can’t find, please get in touch.  I plan to make periodic updates in this space throughout my term.  So, check back often for updates and follow the Office on Twitter.

Happy Holidays!

Valerie Jepson
Integrity Commissioner

I began my work as Integrity Commissioner on September 8, 2014.  The first several weeks of my term will be focused on transition activities, which include:

  • becoming familiar with City of Toronto resources, policies and procedures;
  • becoming fully conversant and expert with the Codes of Conduct and all relevant policies and procedures applicable to members of Council and Local and Adjudicative Board appointees;
  • working closely with former Commissioner Leiper to review the status of all files, including open formal complaints, requests for advice, corporate and policy matters;
  • attending to matters related to office operations and establishing an office with a full-time commissioner; and,
  • finalizing plans and goals for the term.

In carrying out my duties in the transition phase, my first priority is to become fully conversant and expert about the Codes of Conduct and the City’s policies and procedures and responding to requests for advice from members of Council, Local and Adjudicative board members.  The reason for this priority is because my focus will be, consistent with my predecessors, encouraging compliance with the Codes of Conduct by providing accurate, timely and clear advice.

Advice

I am available to provide advice and information to members of Council, Board appointees, citizens and City staff for information about compliance with the Codes of Conduct. I can be reached at: Valerie.Jepson@toronto.ca.

No new complaints at this time

Due to the upcoming election and the Complaint Protocol, no new complaints can be filed with this Office alleging that a member has contravened the Code of Conduct until a new council is formed.  However, as noted above, any person is free to contact me to obtain information and advice about Code compliance.

Open Complaint Files

I will be reviewing each open complaint file and carrying out appropriate investigation or assessment activities (as applicable).  When my assessment and investigation activities commence, they will proceed in the ordinary course as required for this Office under the City of Toronto Act, 2006 and the Complaint Protocols for Members of Council, Local Boards (restricted definition) and Adjudicative Boards.  I am not permitted to provide any specific updates about the status of any particular matter to the public.

I am mindful of the upcoming election and that both complainants and respondents are keen to have certainty as to the status of formal complaints that have been filed with this Office.  At this time, I do not anticipate completing any investigations between now and election day.  As a consequence, there will be no reports provided to complainants or respondents prior to the election.

At this time, I will follow the past practice of the Office of the Integrity Commissioner for Toronto and issue reports about breaches of the Code of Conduct only to a sitting City Council.  For this reason, I can advise you that the earliest time I will be reporting to City Council on any violation of the Code of Conduct (if any is found in any case) will be when a new City Council is organized.

The Term

It is a great privilege for me to take on this role.  I intend to build on the solid foundation established by Commissioners Leiper, Sossin and Mullan.  The work of the Office helps build confidence and trust in our government – an objective worth pursuing with vigour.  I look forward to this work.

Valerie Jepson
Integrity Commissioner

June 11, 2014 – City of Toronto News Release

At its meeting today, City Council unanimously appointed Valerie L. Jepson as Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner, effective September 6, 2014. The Integrity Commissioner provides advice, complaint investigation and education to City Council, Council members and appointees of most City agencies on the application of their respective Code of Conduct, and other bylaws, policies and legislation governing ethical behaviour.

“I am very pleased about the appointment of Valerie Jepson, a highly respected lawyer with extensive knowledge in the areas of ethics and accountability,” said Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly. “Ms. Jepson will play a significant role in maintaining public confidence in City Hall and in ensuring that the City’s Codes of Conduct and ethics governing elected officials and appointees of City agencies are objectively communicated and applied.”

“Ms. Jepson’s extensive experience in both the public and private sectors, including her work with the Office of the Ontario Integrity Commissioner, will benefit her in her new term as the City’s Integrity Commissioner,” said Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby (Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre), Chair of the Integrity Commissioner Selection Panel.

Jepson takes over the position from Janet Leiper, who was appointed as Integrity Commissioner in August 2009. “On behalf of City Council, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Janet Leiper for her work and dedication during her term with the City,” said Deputy Mayor Kelly.

A lawyer and litigator, Jepson has practised law since 2002. She served most recently as Counsel for the Office of the Ontario Integrity Commissioner, a position she has held since 2007. Jepson advised the Integrity Commissioner on all aspects of her mandate including the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994, the Code of Conduct for MPPs in Ontario; and the Lobbyists Registration Act, 1998, which establishes the Ontario Lobbyists Registry.

Jepson joined the Office of the Integrity Commissioner after having practised for five years as a litigator in the private sector in various areas of law including labour and employment, insurance, bankruptcy and insolvency, contract and estates. Jepson is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada (2004) and the Law Society of Alberta (2002).

The Integrity Commissioner is an independent officer, appointed by and reporting to Toronto City Council whose powers and duties are set out in Part V of the City of Toronto Act, 2006.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world’s most livable cities. Toronto is proud to be the Host City for the 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit http://www.toronto.ca, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

TORONTO, May 20, 2014 – The City of Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner is proposing changes to the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and is inviting members of the public to provide comments, either at the next Executive Committee meeting or directly to her office.

The Integrity Commissioner’s report, Integrity by Design: Report on the Review of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, will be considered at the May 27 Executive Committee meeting. The report was released today with the Executive Committee agenda and is available here.

The Code of Conduct for Members of Council contains principles and expected conduct for City of Toronto elected officials and is part of the City’s ethical infrastructure. The Office of the Integrity Commissioner is proposing some changes to improve the provisions of the Code of Conduct.

The public is invited to make deputations or provide written comments at the May 27 Executive Committee meeting. Details on how you can speak at the meeting or provide written comments are available on the City website: http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/tmmis/have-your-say.htm

Members of the public who wish to provide comments directly to the Integrity Commissioner’s office may do so in writing by e mail to Wendy Wilson at: wwilson2@toronto.ca or by letter to the Integrity Commissioner, 375 University Avenue, Suite 202, Toronto, ON  M5G 2J5

Yesterday’s meeting at City Council has prompted questions in the media about a report made by the Integrity Commissioner.

Toronto City Council oversees the work of the Integrity Commissioner. The Integrity Commissioner is required to report to City Council within the terms of the City of Toronto Act, 2006. The Integrity Commissioner reserves comment on the subject of reports to Council for City Council meetings.

When a report from the Integrity Commissioner is placed on Council’s agenda, every member of Council has an opportunity to ask the Integrity Commissioner questions about the report. These proceedings are open to the public, recorded and televised.

The Integrity Commissioner only responds to general media queries about the work of the office, the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and the Complaint Protocol which describes how complaints are to be investigated. All public reports by the Integrity Commissioner are also posted on the City of Toronto Integrity Commissioner website.

The Report from the City Solicitor and the Integrity Commissioner to Toronto City Council on the Decision of Divisional Court in Magder v. Ford (CC30.8) can be found at:

A recent report to City Council has prompted interest in how the complaint process works at City Hall.

All Councillors and the Mayor are subject to the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and Council policies. A formal investigation is triggered by a complaint, either by a member of the public or on a reference from Council. All complaints are reviewed to make sure that the Integrity Commissioner’s Office has jurisdiction. The Integrity Commissioner does not choose who to investigate.

A complaint about a Councillor’s use of expenses is measured against the Councillor Expense Policy which was adopted by Council. If the Councillor breaches the Expense Policy, this may be a violation of the Code of Conduct and become a matter for the Integrity Commissioner. If members of the public think that the Expense Policy should be changed, that would be up to Council to decide.

The timing and processing of Complaints are handled under a Complaint Protocol, which the Integrity Commissioner is bound to follow. The Complaint Protocol ensures that the same set of rules apply to investigations.

During the pre-election period, which began on August 1, 2010 and ends after the election with the first meeting of Council, Council has determined that new complaints may not be received by the Integrity Commissioner. The complaint that led to the recent report to Council by the Integrity Commissioner was made in May of 2010 and was properly brought to Council.

For further information or to schedule an interview please contact Janet Leiper at 416-397-7770 or at jleiper@toronto.ca

August 5, 2009 – City of Toronto News Release

Today, City Council appointed Janet Leiper as the City’s Integrity Commissioner, effective September 8, 2009. The Integrity Commissioner provides advice, complaint resolution and education to Council members and appointees of most of the City’s agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) on the application of the City’s Code of Conduct and other bylaws, policies and legislation governing ethical behavior.

Ms. Leiper, a lawyer and adjudicator, has practiced administrative and criminal law since her call to the Bar in 1987. She served most recently as Visiting Professor, Public Interest Law at Osgoode Law School where she implemented the first public interest graduation requirement for law students in Canada. Ms. Leiper is also the former Chair of Legal Aid Ontario appointed by the Government of Ontario from 2004 to 2007.

Ms. Leiper has extensive experience with investigations, prosecutions and defence work on behalf of lawyers and the Law Society of Upper Canada; and has served as independent counsel to a number of regulated health professional colleges. Ms. Leiper is also an Alternate Chair of both the Ontario Review Board and the Nunavut Review Board, presiding over hearings to determine the liberty of persons found not criminally responsible due to mental health disorders and persons found unfit to stand trial.

Ms. Leiper was awarded the 2009 Laura Legge Award from the Law Society of Upper Canada, an award that recognizes an Ontario female lawyer who has exemplified leadership in the legal profession.

“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Janet Leiper, a highly respected lawyer, well known for her work serving the public interest, as the City’s Integrity Commissioner,” said Mayor David Miller. “Ms. Leiper will play a significant role in maintaining the public’s confidence in City Hall and in ensuring that the City’s codes of behavior and ethics governing elected officials and members of various ABCs are objectively communicated and applied.”

Ms. Leiper takes over the position from Lorne Sossin, appointed as Integrity Commissioner on an interim basis in September 2008. “On behalf of City Council, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Lorne Sossin, interim Integrity Commissioner, for his work and dedication over the past year,” said Mayor David Miller.

The Integrity Commissioner, an independent officer reporting to City Council, is one component of the City’s accountability framework required under the City of Toronto Act. The others are the Auditor General, the Ombudsman and the Lobbyist Registrar.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175 anniversary of Toronto’s incorporation as a city. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Don Wanagas, Director of Communications, Office of Mayor David Miller, 416 338-7134,dwanagas@toronto.ca
Patricia Trott, Manager of Media Relations and Issues Management, Strategic Communications, 416-392-8937, ptrott@toronto.ca

Summary Profile of Janet Leiper

Janet Leiper is a practicing lawyer and an adjudicator. She has practiced administrative and criminal law in Toronto since her call to the Bar in 1987. She has extensive experience with investigations, prosecutions and defence work on behalf of lawyers and the Law Society of Upper Canada. She is a former part time Assistant Crown Attorney.

She was made Visiting Professor, Public Interest Law at Osgoode Hall Law School in 2007. From 2007-2009, she was the Director of the Osgoode Public Interest Requirement and in that capacity implemented the first Canadian mandatory public interest graduation requirement for law students. In 2008-2009, she taught criminal procedure and ethical lawyering.

From 2004-2007, she was appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve as Chair of Legal Aid Ontario.

She is a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and sits on the Certified Specialist Board, Law Society of Upper Canada. She has served as independent counsel to a number of regulated health professional colleges, including the Massage Therapists of Ontario, the College of Dental Technologists and the College of Pharmacists of Ontario. She served from 2003-2004 as Counsel to the Ontario Review Board.

She was the Head of Section for the Criminal Law Section of the Bar Admission Course from 1997-2004. She is an Alternate Chair of both the Ontario Review Board and the Nunavut Review Board, and presides over hearings to determine the liberty of persons found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder and persons found unfit to stand trial.

She is the recipient of the 2009 Laura Legge Award from the Law Society of Upper Canada, presented to a woman who has exemplified leadership in the legal profession.

July 21, 2004 – City of Toronto News Release

David J. Mullan has been appointed Toronto’s new Integrity Commissioner. The appointment was made today by Toronto City Council.

An experienced adjudicator, Mullan was a Professor of Law at Queen’s University from 1977 to 2003, where, until his retirement, he was the holder of the Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt Professorship in Constitutional and Administrative Law.

He holds degrees in Law from Queen’s University and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. In addition, Mullan is widely published in such fields as Administrative Law, Public Law, and Constitutional Law.

“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of such a highly-respected jurist as David Mullan to be the first City of Toronto Integrity Commissioner,” said Mayor David Miller. “Mr. Mullan will play a crucial role in maintaining the public’s confidence in City Hall and in ensuring that the codes of behaviour and ethics governing elected officials are objectively communicated and applied.”

“I look forward to serving the City of Toronto in my capacity as Integrity Commissioner,” said Mullan. “Toronto has already adopted a number of measures to ensure transparency, fairness and accountability in City processes. My goal is to provide independent and consistent advice in upholding City Council’s Code of Conduct and to support the high standards and principles of conduct that the Council has confirmed.”

As Integrity Commissioner, Mullan will provide advice to members of Council on their obligations under Council’s Code of Conduct and other by-laws, policies and legislation governing ethical conduct. He will also assess and investigate complaints against members under the existing Code of Conduct Complaint Protocol and will increase awareness about integrity matters through reporting and advising on findings.

Mullan will take up his duties with the City as of September 1, 2004. He will be available to answer media questions in the Members Lounge tomorrow morning at 10:15 a.m.