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Council Code of Conduct

Background

In 2007, the Municipal Act was amended to include several provisions to assist municipalities in being more transparent and accountable to the public.

Section 270 of the Act requires every municipality to adopt and maintain policies for the sale and disposition of land; hiring of employees, procurement of goods and services, public notice, and transparency and accountability.

The Municipal Act also authorizes a municipality to establish a Code of Conduct for members of council and the local boards of the municipality as well as to appoint an Integrity Commissioner who reports to Council and who is responsible for performing, in an independent manner, the functions assigned by the municipality with respect to the application of the Code of Conduct for members of Council and the application of any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality governing the ethical behaviour of members of Council.

The Act also requires a municipality to appoint a closed meeting investigator to investigate complaints as to whether a municipality has complied with the requirements of the Act regarding open meeting requirements.

The County of Oxford retains Mr. Gregory Stewart as Integrity Commissioner and to investigate closed meeting complaints.

Council Code of Conduct

On October 9, 2019, Council adopted the Code of Conduct, the purpose of which is to establish guidelines for the ethical behaviour of all members of Council, advisory committees and local boards of the municipality and to enhance public confidence that the County’s elected and appointed officials are held to a high standard of conduct. It is intended only to supplement the legislative parameters within which the members must already operate. It is not intended to replace personal ethics.

Council Code of Conduct

Integrity Commissioner

The Integrity Commissioner is an independent and impartial position that reports directly to Council and whose powers and duties are set out in the Municipal Act, 2001.

Responsibilities of the Integrity Commissioner:

  • Investigate complaints and alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council.
  • Review the Code of Conduct for Members of Council and make recommendations on an annual basis.
  • Provide written or oral advice to individual members of Council regarding general interpretation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.
  • Serve as an advisor to individual Members of Council in relation to the Code of Conduct and any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality governing ethical behaviour, and act as a proactive educator for Council, the Civic Administration and the public.
  • Provide reports to Council
  • Provide individual investigative reports, as required, which will include background concerning a complaint and recommendations to Municipal Council with respect to a complaint

For assistance in contacting the Integrity Commissioner, please contact the County Clerk, ChloƩ Senior by e-mail to clerksoffice@oxfordcounty.ca or by telephone at 519-539-9800 ext 3001

Closed meetings

According to Section 239 of the Municipal Act, all meetings of Council and Boards must be open to the public. A meeting or part of a meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter falls under one of exemptions of the Act.

A person may request that an investigation of whether a municipality or local board has contravened the provisions of the Municipal Act pertaining to a closed meeting. All requests for closed meeting investigations must be submitted using the Closed Meeting Investigation Form in writing to the County Clerk by mail or personal delivery and should be marked 'Confidential'. The following information must be provided:

  • Contact information of the requestor including full name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
  • Date of the closed meeting at issue
  • Reason(s) for the request including the provision allegedly contravened
  • Any other relevant information, including witness names and contact information
  • Original signature
  • A $25.00 fee is applicable to all requests in accordance with the County’s Fees and Charges By-law

For assistance regarding a closed meeting investigation, please contact the County Clerk, ChloƩ Senior by e-mail to clerksoffice@oxfordcounty.ca or by telephone at 519-539-9800 ext 3001.

Closed Meeting Investigator and Integrity Commissioner

Gregory F. Stewart

Gregory Stewart, of the law firm Donnelly Murphy, is an expert in municipal law and currently acts as the Integrity Commissioner for several area municipalities in Middlesex, Oxford and Perth Counties.

Greg Stewart joined Donnelly Murphy in 2000 after almost 20 years of practice in Windsor and Essex County. His practice is primarily in the areas of Municipal, Planning, Employment, Civil Litigation and Corporate Law as well as some work in the area of Estates and Wills. He acts for several municipalities in the area in addition to having been appointed as Closed Meeting Investigator and Integrity Commissioner for a number of municipalities in Middlesex, Oxford and Perth Counties. In addition to representing clients, Greg is also experienced in mediation and arbitration and available to assist parties in that manner.

Greg is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association, the Huron Law Association, and the Bayfield Historical Society. He is currently the Chairman of the local advisory committee for the Clinton Hospital and the Huron-Perth Hospital Alliance.

Greg is a graduate of the University of Windsor in Political Science and a graduate of the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. 

For additional information contact the Clerk's Office

Oxford County is taking steps to support our community's response to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) and measures taken by Southwestern Public Health. We are monitoring our operations daily to ensure we are taking the right actions to protect our residents, employees and visitors. Get updates at www.oxfordcounty.ca/COVID-19