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Ontario to strengthen municipal codes of conduct

'We want to gather input to ensure there are adequate mechanisms in place to hold council members accountable for any unacceptable behaviour'

The Ontario government is getting ready to crack down on misconduct by municipal politicians.

It announced this week it is launching consultations with the municipal sector to strengthen accountability for council members.

"The province wants to ensure that councillors and heads of council maintain a safe and respectful workplace and carry out their duties as elected officials in an ethical and responsible manner," says a government news release.

"We want to gather input to ensure there are adequate mechanisms in place to hold council members accountable for any unacceptable behaviour," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "It's critical that everyone feels safe and respected in the workplace, and that they know there are accountability measures in place for members who violate codes of conduct."

Jill Dunlop, the Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues will be leading the consultations to hear from members of council, municipal associations as well as municipal staff on how to ensure that municipal staff and officials are supported and respected in the workplace.

"Our government has been absolutely clear that we will not tolerate workplace harassment or discrimination of any kind," said Associate Minister Dunlop. "We are committed to upholding our shared values of respect, equity, equality, and fairness for all people in Ontario."

Workers, supervisors and employers have rights and duties when dealing with workplace violence and harassment. Ontario has a guide that explains what every worker, supervisor, and employer needs to know about workplace violence and workplace harassment.

Under the Municipal Act, 2001, all municipalities are required to establish a code of conduct for councillors and certain local boards. They are also required to provide access to an integrity commissioner.

For more information on codes of conduct.see: Municipal Councillor’s Guide