The Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff is a consolidated framework that sets out the roles and responsibilities of Members of Council for managing the City employees under their authority, and affirms applicable City Human Resources policy requirements for Members’ staff.
The framework also sets out the ethical framework for Members’ staff and clarifies their responsibility under the existing Code of Conduct for Members of Council. As Members’ staff are not members of the public service, the policy provides clarity to the distinct roles that Members and their staff play in the effective functioning of Toronto’s government.
Members: A Member of Toronto City Council, including the Mayor and Councillors.
Members’ staff: Individuals retained in Councillors’ Offices and the Mayor’s Office, including:
City Clerk’s Office: The City Clerk, the Deputy City Clerk, Members Services & Program Support or other designated staff in the City Clerk’s Office.
Code of Conduct: The Code of Conduct for Members of Council, administered by the Integrity Commissioner.
Council Member Knowledge Base: The knowledge base for Members of Council, as updated from time to time, related to the carriage and control of their offices, service protocols, processes, as well as day-to-day operational supports provided to Members of Council.
Human Resource Policy Requirements: The minimum, necessary policies, as amended from time to time, applicable to Members’ staff in order that Members can effectively manage their staff and to ensure that the City is meeting its legislative obligations as the employer.
Toronto Public Service (TPS): Those City and agency employees working in the non-political component of Toronto’s government and subject to the Toronto Public Service By-law.
While Members’ staff are City of Toronto employees, they are not members of the public service and therefore are not subject to the Toronto Public Service By-law. However, being government employees, they have similar ethical and employment requirements albeit with necessary modifications to reflect their unique status as Members’ staff. Consequently, Members have responsibilities for managing these staff and are required to enforce human resource and ethical policies to ensure both they and the City are meeting their legislative obligations and responsibilities.
The Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework applies to all individuals employed in Councillors’ Offices and the Mayor’s Office. At the City, interns, co-op students and secondees are paid for their work assignments and therefore are employees and also subject to the Framework in its entirety.
*It is imperative that an individual’s status and nature of relationship be accurately identified, structured and documented by Members prior to their start in Members’ Offices. An individual cannot be in more than one category at the same time. Mistaken or wrongful categorization can result in significant liability and financial penalties for the City (and Member).
This Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Member’ Staff aims to:
The Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff is developed under the following context:
The key principles used in developing the Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff are:
Members have the responsibility to manage their office and staff in accordance with the Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff, their Code of Conduct, the Council Member Knowledge Base and in compliance with applicable City employment related policies and guidelines, and the City’s statutory obligations, including but not limited to the Employment Standards Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, Ontario Fire Code, Ontario Human Rights Code, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, Ontario Labour Relations Act and Income Tax Act, as amended from time to time.
Members have the responsibility to ensure that their staff are aware of and comply with the Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff as detailed in this document.
Members are responsible for ensuring Members’ staff abide by the applicable City Human Resources Policies, which are listed in Appendix A of this Framework and which are also attached to the Members’ staff employment contracts, both of which may be amended from time to time.
Each Members’ staff has the responsibility to become familiar with and abide by the Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff as detailed in this document.
Each Member’s staff is responsible for abiding by the Human Resources Policies listed in Appendix A of this Framework and appended to their employment contracts. These policies may be amended from time to time.
Members’ staff will act responsibly, disclosing all actual or potential conflict of interest situations to the Member and behave in a manner that would not create the perception that the Member deliberately or inadvertently breached the Code of Conduct.
City Clerk’s Office provides day-to-day operational support and advice to Members in relation to the management of staff in their offices and assists the Members in meeting the City’s legislative obligations as the employer of record.
The City is the employer of Members’ staff and in this role is legally responsible for fulfilling its statutory requirements and other corporate responsibilities and obligations to protect City interests.
Individuals employed in the offices of Members of Council are City of Toronto employees. However, Members’ staff are a special sub-group of City of Toronto non- union employees falling under one of the following employment arrangements:
Members, as supervisors/managers of City employees working in their offices, have control and direction over their staff and are responsible for the following:
Members’ role over the management of their staff includes the following components:
 As adopted by Council at its meeting on City Council on December 4, 5 and 13, 2018, CC1.1 Recalibrating City Council’s Governance System for 26 Members.
Members have carriage and control of, and are fully responsible for, the conduct and management of staff working in their offices. Members are responsible for ensuring that individuals working in their offices understand the following Ethical Framework and the expectations it sets out for Members’ staff and individuals working in their offices.
This Framework applies to all individuals employed in Councillors’ Offices and the Mayor’s Office.
Members’ staff are expected to conduct themselves with personal integrity, ethics, honesty and diligence in performing their duties.
Members’ staff are considered public office holders under City of Toronto Act, Part V, Accountability and Transparency, Section 156, and under Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 140, Lobbying and must be familiar with their requirements and restrictions under the By-law.
Members’ staff should consult with the Lobbyist Registrar if they have any questions regarding lobbying.
Members’ staff must not place themselves or their Member of Council in a direct or perceived conflict of interest.
Members’ staff should always consult with the Member if they are unsure if there is a conflict or potential conflict with a specific situation.
A conflict of interest refers, but is not limited to a situation in which a Member’s staff has private interests that could compete with or that may be perceived to complete with their duties and responsibilities as a Member’s staff.
A conflict of interest can be a situation where the Member’s staff use their position for private gain or expectation of private gain, non-monetary or otherwise. A conflict may also occur when the private interest benefits the staff’s family, friends or organizations in which the staff or his or her family or friends have a financial interest.
Members’ staff must not use their positions to give any one preferential treatment that would advance their own interest or that of any party where such advance is contrary to the interest of City.
Members’ staff must not accept, arrange to accept or request to be given a reward, gift, advantage or benefit of any kind from any person or entity that influences or could be perceived to influence the performance of his or her duties.
Members’ staff may accept a gift of nominal value given as an expression of courtesy or hospitality, provided this does not influence, or be perceived to influence, the performance of the their duties.
A Member may decide that no gifts may be accepted under any circumstances.
A Member’s staff, who receives a gift in the performance of their duties, will immediately notify the Member.
Members’ staff will abide by the City’s Employment of Relatives Policy as one of the City’s Human Resources Policies attached to their employment contract.
In cases where relatives of a Member staff are employed in the same office of the Member of Council, there must not be any work direction provided or any supervisory responsibility of one relative over another.
Members’ staff must not use, or permit the use of any City property, including facilities, equipment, supplies, technology or other resources, for activities not associated with the performance of their duties. Any exception must be approved by the Member in advance.
Members’ staff may not, during the term of his or her employment or any time thereafter, directly or indirectly use or disclose any confidential information obtained during their employment with the Member, unless they are required by law or authorized by the Member in writing and in advance. The obligation to maintain confidentiality continues after the ceasing of employment.
Confidential information includes, but is not limited to, privileged information, draft by-laws or staff reports, third party information, personal information, technical, financial or scientific information and any other information collected, obtained or derived for or from any records that a Members’ staff may come into contact with while employed in the office of the Member.
Members’ staff who have a financial interest or are involved in a decision-making process related to a City contract, sale or business transaction, or has family members, friends or business associates with such interest, must disclose their interest to the Member and remove themselves from any decision-making process. The Members’ staff must sign a declaration that the staff will not engage in any activity related to the City contract, sale or business transaction.
Members’ staff may not appear before a City committee on behalf of a private citizen or third party, other than for themselves or a family member.
Members’ staff must identify themselves as such if they are making a deputation to a City or Agency committee, unless they appear as a private citizen on matters that do not relate to their employment.
Members’ staff may not engage in any outside work or business activity that conflicts with his or her duties in the Members’ Office; or could benefit from confidential information obtained during the course of his or her employment.
Members’ staff who engage in any other work or business activities must disclose these activities to the Member in advance.
Political activity is defined as:
Political activity is applicable to municipal, school board, provincial and federal elections and Toronto municipal referendum questions.
Members’ staff must comply with the requirements of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, when seeking election or appointment to Toronto City Council:
This section is intended to facilitate the disclosure of wrongdoing that is contrary to the public interest and to protect from reprisal, those Members’ staff who in good faith report wrongdoing.
Wrongdoing refers to serious actions that are contrary to public interest, including but not limited to:
Reprisal against a Member’s staff is any measure taken or threatened as a direct result of disclosing or being suspected of disclosing an allegation of wrongdoing, initiating or co-operating in an investigation into an alleged wrongdoing. Reprisal includes but is not limited to:
Records that document a Member’s relationship with their constituents as an elected representative are considered personal records (e.g. constituent complaints about City service or other property matters). These records belong to the Member, regardless of whether it’s the Member or their staff that collected or created the information. Often these records contain personal or sensitive information about constituents.
Records containing political information are likewise the personal records of the Member and generally not subject to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). Political information is found in communications with persons and organizations, including other Members of Council, about matters not specifically related to ward issues.
City business records are records considered under MFIPPA as being in the custody or control of the City. If a Member’s staff emails City staff about an issue or forwards a constituent’s email to City staff for follow-up, then that email becomes a City record. Items on
Excerpt from the Toronto Public Service By-Law – Municipal Code Chapter 192, Article V, Clause 192-26, December 31, 2015.
City or Agency employees may seek election or appointment to political office, subject to the requirements set out below:
A City or Agency employee is eligible to be a candidate for and to be elected as a member of Toronto City Council, subject to the following rules:
A City or Agency employee is eligible to seek appointment to and be appointed as a member of Toronto City Council subject to the following rules:
A City or Agency employee is eligible to be a candidate for and to be elected as a member of any municipal council or school board or seek appointment to and to be appointed as a member of any municipal council or school board subject to the following rules:
A City or Agency employee is eligible to be a candidate for and to be elected as a member of Provincial legislature or Federal parliament subject to the following rules:
This list is included as part of Members’ staff employment contracts and may be updated from time to time.
Note: Details of the above specific policies are available on the City’s Intranet, under HR policies. Above policies are subject to change from time to time.
As approved by City Council at its meeting on August 25, 26, 27 and 28, 2014 and amended by City Council at its meeting June 15 and 16, 2022.