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You are here: City of Saskatoon CITY COUNCIL Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct 

City Council, at its meeting held on March 12,  2012, adopted a code of conduct for all members of City Council. Please click on the link below to download it in pdf form, or follow the links in the Table of Contents below.  If you have any questions regarding the Code of Conduct, please contact the City Clerk's Office at (306) 975-3240.


Table of Contents: (click on a link to follow)

  1. Introduction
  2. Statutory Obligations
  3. Appropriate Use of City Assets and Services
  4. Gifts and Benefits
  5. Actions During Civic Election Periods
  6. Leaves of Absence
  7. Compliance
  8. Sanctions
1.  

INTRODUCTION 

 

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Purpose

Citizens of Saskatoon expect high standards of conduct from all government officials. The quality of the City of Saskatoon’s public administration and governance, as well as its reputation and integrity, depend on the highest standards of conduct from its elected representatives.

Ethics and integrity are at the core of public confidence in government and in the political process. The purpose of this Code of Conduct is to provide standards for members of Saskatoon City Council relating to their roles and obligations, and a procedure for the investigation and enforcement of those standards.

Section 55(b)(ii) of The Cities Act provides that Council may establish “rules for the conduct of Councillors, of members of Council committees and of members of other bodies established by council”.

2.  

STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS 

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A.  

Statutory Offences with Penalties

Section 120 of The Cities Act provides that a member of Council is disqualified from Council if the member:

 

(a)

when nominated, was not eligible for nomination or election as a candidate pursuant to The Local Government Election Act;

 

(b)

ceases to be eligible for nomination or election or to hold office pursuant to The Local Government Election Act or any other Act;

 

(c)

is absent from all regular Council meetings held during any period of three consecutive months, starting with the date that the first meeting is missed, unless the absence is authorized by a resolution of Council;

 

(d)

is convicted while in office:

  1. of an offence punishable by imprisonment for five years or more; or
  2. of an offence pursuant to section 123, 124 or 125 of the Criminal Code of Canada (eg. municipal corruption);
 

(e)

contravenes:

  1. a bylaw passed pursuant to section 145.1 of The Local Government Election Act (eg. fails to file a statement of election contributions and expenses in accordance with the provisions of The Campaign Disclosure and Spending Limits Bylaw); or
  2. section 116 or 117 of The Cities Act (eg. fails to file a public disclosure statement or fails to declare a pecuniary interest); or
 

(f)

ceases to reside in the city.

B.  

Statutory Duties of City Councillors and the Mayor

Section 65 of The Cities Act specifies the following duties for all members of Council:

 

(a)

to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the City;

 

(b)

to participate in developing and evaluating the policies, services and programs of the City;

 

(c)

to participate in Council meetings and Council Committee meetings and meetings of other bodies to which they are appointed by the Council;

 

(d)

to ensure that administrative practices and procedures are in place to implement the decisions of Council;

 

(e)

to keep in confidence matters discussed in private at a Council or Council committee meeting until discussed at a meeting held in public;

 

(f)

to maintain the financial integrity of the City;

 

(g)

to perform any other duty or function imposed on Councillors by this or any other Act or by the Council.

Section 66 of The Cities Act provides that the Mayor has the following additional duties:

 

(a)

to preside when in attendance at a Council meeting, unless this Act or another Act or a bylaw of Council provides that another Councillor is to preside;

 

(b)

to perform any other duty imposed on a Mayor by this or any other Act or by bylaw or resolution.

C.  

Confidential Information

In addition to the statutory duties set out in section 65(e) of The Cities Act, Council members shall:

 
  • refrain from disclosing or releasing by any means to any member of the public or the media, any confidential information acquired by virtue of their office in either oral or written form, except when required by law or authorized by Council to do so;

  • use confidential information (such as knowledge respecting bidding on the sale of City property or assets) for personal or private gain, or for the gain of relatives or any person or corporation; and

  • refrain from accessing or attempting to gain access to confidential information in the custody of the City unless it is necessary for the performance of their duties and not prohibited by council policy.
3.  

APPROPRIATE USE OF CITY ASSETS AND SERVICES 

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A.  

Expectation of Privacy

All City Council members are notified that all computers, cell phones, blackberries and other electronic devices provided by the City are the property of the City, and shall, at all times, be treated as the City’s property. Council members are hereby notified that they are to have no expectation of privacy in the use of these devices.

Council members are entitled to use these devices for personal as well as for City purposes. However, they are hereby notified that:

 

(a)

all emails or messages sent or received on City devices are subject to The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

 

(b)

all files stored on City devices, all use of internal email and all use of the internet through the City’s firewall may be inspected, traced or logged by the City;

 

(c)

in the event of a complaint pursuant to this Policy, Executive Committee may require that any or all of the electronic devices provided by the City to Council members may be confiscated and inspected as part of the investigation including downloading information which is considered relevant to the investigation. All email messages or internet connections may be retrieved.

B.  

Appropriate Use 

Members of City Council are entitled to various City-paid services or resources, and in using said resources they shall:

 
  • follow the same rules and practices regarding reimbursement of travel expenses that are followed by civic staff;
  • use City resources including civic staff, postage, photocopiers, phones, newsletters, stationery and any other civic property and equipment, with the exception of electronic devices, for civic business only; and
  • refrain from including personal information on civic business cards or on the civic webpage.
4.  

GIFTS AND BENEFITS 

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No member of Council shall accept a fee, gift or personal benefit that is connected directly or indirectly with the performance of his or her duties of office, unless permitted by the exceptions listed below. For these purposes, a fee or gift or benefit that is paid to or provided with the member’s knowledge to a member’s spouse, partner, child or parent that is connected directly or indirectly to the performance of the member’s duties is deemed to be a gift to that member.

The following are recognized as exceptions:

 

(a)

such gifts or benefits that normally accompany the responsibilities of office and are received as an incident of protocol or social obligation, provided that the value of the gift or benefit does not exceed $750.00;

 

(b)

a suitable memento of a function honouring the member;

 

(c)

food, lodging, transportation, event tickets or entertainment provided by provincial, regional and local governments or political subdivisions of them, by the Federal government or by a foreign government within a foreign country, or by a conference, seminar or event organizer where the member is either speaking or attending in an official capacity; and

 

(d)

food and beverages consumed at banquets, receptions, business lunches or similar events, if attendance serves a legitimate business purpose, the person extending the invitation or a representative of the organization is in attendance, and the value is reasonable and the invitations infrequent.

5.  

ACTIONS DURING CIVIC ELECTION PERIODS 

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No member of Council shall use the facilities, equipment, supplies, services or other resources of the City (including Councillor newsletters, the City’s website and websites linked through the City’s website) for any election campaign or campaign-related activities. Any campaign-related activities that occur in City Hall or any civic facility must take place in a location that is normally available for rental to the public and which has been arranged through the normal rental process. No member shall use the services of civic staff for election-related purposes during hours in which those civic staff members receive any compensation from the City.

For greater clarity and to ensure that members of Council do not receive any undue benefit by virtue of being an incumbent, during the period between Nomination Day (i.e. the second-last Wednesday in September of an election year) and the date of the election, Council members will:

 
  • refrain from using any City-owned resources, including but not limited to cell phones, blackberries, business cards, laptop computers, civic phone number, email address, official photograph, and City crest, for election-related purposes;
  • refrain from using City postage or other resources for mass mailings of any kind, regardless of whether or not they are specifically related to the election campaign;
  • refrain from wearing the Mayor’s Chain of Office at any event, regardless of whether or not it is related to the election campaign;
  • refrain from putting their City-issued phone number and e-mail address as their contact information on their campaign material;
  • refrain from placing ward information updates in community newsletters;
  • refrain from referring to themselves in campaign advertisements as “Councillor X” or “Mayor Y”;
  • refrain from organizing activities such as formal openings of facilities or public spaces or similar events; and
  • strictly adhere to all of the rules that govern candidates in local elections.
6.  

LEAVES OF ABSENCE 

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Occasionally a member of Council will take a leave of absence in order to run for elected office of another level of government. During the period of the leave the Council member:

 
  • will not receive any confidential agendas, communications or documents from the City;
  • will receive copies of all public information;
  • will not be required to return their City-issued material during the period of the unpaid leave, but will not use it for any non-civic purpose; and
  • will not be reimbursed for any mileage or telephone or similar expenses.
7.  

COMPLIANCE 

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All members of council shall cooperate in any investigation made pursuant to this Section.

A.  

Statutory Offences with Penalties

A complaint under this Section of the Code must be in writing and must be made either:

 

(a)

by a member of Council; or

 

(b)

by the City Clerk except where the matter relates to section 117 (i.e. failure to declare a pecuniary interest).

The City Clerk shall forward all complaints, including the name of the complainant, to the Executive Committee (in camera), and to the member about whom the complaint is made.

Upon receipt of a complaint under this Section of the Code, the Executive Committee shall meet, in camera, excluding the member of Council concerned, and decide whether to proceed to investigate the complaint or not. The Executive Committee, in its sole discretion, may decide to take no action on the complaint. In that event, the member of Council concerned shall be notified of the Executive Committee’s decision.

If the Executive Committee decides to investigate the complaint, it shall take such steps as it may consider appropriate, which may include hiring an independent investigator, seeking legal advice, etc. All proceedings of Executive Committee regarding the investigation shall be in camera.

If the Executive Committee believes that the member of Council concerned has breached section 120 of The Cities Act, it shall advise the member of Council of this, and give them an opportunity to make oral or written submissions to the Committee.

If the Executive Committee concludes that the member of Council concerned has breached section 120 of The Cities Act, it may, in its sole discretion, decide to advise the Council member concerned of its conclusion and of its intent to recommend to City Council that the appropriate proceedings be commenced pursuant to section 121 of The Cities Act.

Section 121 of The Cities Act provides that a member who is disqualified must resign immediately. If a member of Council does not resign as required, the Council or an elector may apply to a judge of the court for:

 

(a)

an order determining whether the person was never qualified to be or has ceased to be qualified to remain a member of Council; or

 

(b)

an order declaring the person to be disqualified from Council.

Should the Council member concerned not resign immediately, the Executive Committee may, in its sole discretion, recommend to City Council that the appropriate proceedings pursuant to section 121 of The Cities Act be commenced against the council member concerned.

B.  

Breach of Confidentiality regarding subsection 65(e) of The Cities Act and/or the Confidential Information Section of this Policy

Where a member of Council or a member of the City’s Senior Administration has reason to believe that a breach of confidentiality has occurred, the facts, as they are known, shall be reported in writing to the Executive Committee (in camera). If the facts, as reported, include the names of a member or members of Council who are alleged to be responsible for the breach, the member or members of Council concerned shall receive a copy of the report to Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee shall meet, in camera, excluding the member or members of Council concerned, if known, and decide whether to proceed to investigate the potential breach or not. The Executive Committee, in its sole discretion, may decide to take no action in the matter. In that event, the member or members of Council concerned, shall be notified of the Executive Committee’s decision.

If the Executive Committee decides to investigate the complaint, it shall appoint an independent investigator to conduct the investigation. All proceedings of Executive Committee regarding the investigation shall be in camera.

Upon receipt of the report of the independent investigator, the Executive Committee shall meet to consider the matter. If one or more Council members are named in the investigative report as being potentially responsible for the breach of confidentiality, that member or members shall be excluded from the meeting.

If the Executive Committee believes that the member or members of Council named are responsible for a breach of confidentiality, it shall advise the member or members of this, and give them an opportunity to make oral or written submissions to the Committee.

If the Executive Committee concludes that the member or members of Council named are responsible for a breach of confidentiality, it may, in its sole discretion, decide to recommend to City Council that sanctions be imposed. The Council member or members concerned shall be advised of the Executive Committee’s conclusion and recommendations.

C.  

All Other Breaches of this Policy

A complaint under this Section must be in writing and must be made either:

 

(a)

by a member of Council; or

 

(b)

by the City Clerk.

The City Clerk shall forward all complaints to the Executive Committee (in camera) and to the member about whom the complaint is made.

Upon receipt of a complaint under this Section, the Executive Committee shall meet, in camera, excluding the member of Council concerned, and decide whether to proceed to investigate the complaint or not. The Executive Committee, in its sole discretion, may decide to take no action on the complaint. In that event, the member of Council concerned shall be notified of the Executive Committee’s decision.

If the Executive Committee decides to investigate the complaint, it shall appoint an independent investigator to conduct the investigation. All proceedings of Executive Committee regarding the investigation shall be in camera.

If, after receipt of the report of the independent investigator, the Executive Committee believes that the member of Council concerned has breached a provision of this Policy, it shall advise the member of Council of this, and give them an opportunity to make oral or written submissions to the Committee.

If the Executive Committee concludes that the member of Council concerned has breached a provision of this Policy, it may, in its sole discretion, decide to recommend to City Council that sanctions be imposed. The Council member concerned shall be advised of the Executive Committee’s conclusion and recommendations.

D.  

Sanctions 

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The Cities Act does not provide specific sanctions for Council members who breach their statutory duties pursuant to sections 65 and 66 of The Cities Act or the rules of conduct established by this Policy pursuant to subsection 55(b)(ii) of The Cities Act.

City Council does have the right to sanction Council members provided that Council members continue to have sufficient access to information and services so as to be able to carry out their duties as Council members. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:

 

(a)

removal of the council member from any national or provincial organization, civic board, commission, authority or committee except for Executive Committee, Planning and Operations, Administration and Finance and Budget Committee;

 

(b)

restriction of access to civic services or City Hall;

 

(c)

restrictions on how documents are provided (eg. no electronic copies, but only watermarked paper copies);

 

(d)

reduction in salary and/or benefits and/or expenses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




                       
 
 
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