Municipal Monitor Q1 2017 | Page 14

Municipal Act Amendments Welcome , but Integrity Commissioners ’ Larger Role Questioned

Bill 68 : Plaudits and Problems

Municipal Act Amendments Welcome , but Integrity Commissioners ’ Larger Role Questioned

By Barry Horeczy

The increased role of integrity commissioners in Bill 68 , Modernizing Ontario ’ s Municipal Legislation Act , 2016 , is raising both praise and concern among stakeholders .

The bill , introduced by the Ontario government on Nov . 16 , is currently in Second Reading debate Jeffrey Abrams at Queen ’ s Park . Every five years , the provincial government is required to review the Municipal Act , which governs the province ’ s 444 municipalities .
“ Increasing the role of integrity commissioners should not have the unintended consequence of diminishing the perception of integrity that the public has in their municipal councils ,” said Jeffrey A . Abrams , chair of AMCTO ’ s Municipal Act review team and member of the association ’ s Legislation & Policy Advisory Group .
“ The role of the integrity commissioner should be mostly advisory and educational , and it should never be the case that they be treated as the only municipal official committed to ensuring that municipal affairs are carried out with integrity and transparency . That is a shared responsibility of integrity commissioners , councillors , the heads of councils , municipal staff ( such as the CAO and indeed the Clerk ) and others .”
A Ministry of Municipal Affairs statement insisted it sees municipalities as accountable and responsible governments .
“ The proposals to ensure every municipality has a code of conduct and provides access to an integrity commissioner would promote a more consistent level of accountability across our local governments ,” the statement said .
“ The proposed changes aim to make the rules clearer , more effective and responsive to local needs . Accountability and transparency is a key foundation of any government , and
12 Q1 2017 www . amcto . com