Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct for Council & Committee Members
The City of Kingston, council and staff are committed to increasing openness, accountability and transparency as part of the life of the municipality. This commitment is consistent with Provincial efforts to make municipal government understandable and approachable for citizens. The Province of Ontario provides that a Code of Conduct must be established for council and that an Integrity Commissioner shall be appointed by the City to perform, in an independent manner, the functions assigned by the City with respect to the application of the Code of Conduct. In March 2017 Kingston City Council approved a Code of Conduct, Complaint Protocol and Accountability Framework Bylaw.
The Integrity Commissioner will provide accountability services to the City including:
- to provide advice on the application of the Code of Conduct, City policies, procedures and rules, the complaint protocol and sections 5, 5(1) or 5(2) of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- to conduct inquiries, as directed by council or on the integrity commissioner's own initiative, regarding whether a member has contravened the Code of Conduct or sections 5, 5(1) or 5(2) of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- to provide advice to a member, upon written request, respecting the member's obligations under the Code of Conduct, City policies, procedures and rules, the complaint protocol and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- to provide opinions on policy matters and make other reports to council as requested on issues of ethics and integrity;
- to provide educational information and training to council, to members and to the public on matters related to the Code of Conduct and issues of ethics and integrity and to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- to provide general information to members of the public, on request, about the Code of Conduct, the complaint protocol and the availability of complaint resolution services or referrals as contemplated by the complaint protocol;
- to maintain custody and control of the integrity commissioner's complaint and inquiry files and, on completion of his or her term of appointment, to transfer open files relating to ongoing matters to the incoming Integrity Commissioner appointed by council;
- to provide such other services respecting ethical and integrity matters as assigned by council or as may be required by the Municipal Act, 2001.
This is a summary of the complaint protocol. Complaints can be informal or formal.
Informal complaints are a means of remedying the behaviour or activity believed to violate the Code of Conduct. The parties involved are encouraged to take advantage of the Integrity Commissioner's potential role as a mediator/conciliator of issues relating to a complaint. Informal complaints should be submitted to:
John Bolognone, City Clerk
613-546-4291 ext. 1247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please refer to the full complaint protocol for details on the treatment of formal complaints. Formal complaints should be submitted on the established complaint form or made via written request. The complaint form may be printed from the website or obtained from the City Clerk's Department. All complaints must be submitted in a sealed envelope marked "private and confidential" and should contain the following information:
- Name of municipality
- Complainant's name, mailing address, telephone number and email address
- Nature and background of the particular occurrence
- Any activities undertaken (if any) to resolve the concern
- Any other information
- Original signature
Formal complaints may be submitted by mail or delivery directly to:
City of Kingston
216 Ontario St.
Kingston, ON K7L 2Z3
City Integrity Commissioner
Jeffrey A. Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski
Who can file a complaint?
Members of the public, staff, any organization as well as other members of Council, can file complaints under the code.
What is the process for filing a complaint?
Complaints may be filed by following the complaint protocol (above) and are filed with the Integrity Commissioner.
How is a complaint investigated?
A formal investigation is undertaken if the complainant wishes to forego the opportunity for a resolution of the complaint through the informal complaint mechanism. The official is given a copy of the complaint and asked to respond in writing to the complaint. A copy of this response is provided to the complainant. Should the response not be sufficient to resolve the complaint, the Integrity Commissioner will further investigate the matter. The process could include an interview with the complainant and the Integrity Commissioner.
Within 90 days of filing the complaint, the Integrity Commissioner submits a report to Council, detailing any contravention of the Code of Conduct and any recommendations. Council determines what action will be taken.
Does the Integrity Commissioner investigate complaints about City employees?
The Integrity Commissioner does not have any authority over City employees as they are subject to a separate Code of Conduct. The activities of the Integrity Commissioner relate only to the Code of Conduct for Council, Local Board and Council Committee members.
Can an anonymous complaint be filed?
The Complaint Protocol makes no provision for anonymous complaints or for withholding the complainant's name. However, the protocol does include an informal complaint procedure that allows the Integrity Commissioner to have an informal discussion with the City official in an attempt to resolve the issue.