November 24 – 25, 2016 – Saskatoon, SK
AMENDMENTS TO THE CITIES ACT
On October 26, 2016 legislative changes to The Cities Act require that cities implement a Council Code of Ethics Bylaw and use the new Oath of Office form for elected council members. A prescribed minimum Code of Ethics and Oath of Office were added into The Cities Regulations.
Section 66.1 – Code of Ethics Bylaw: Council are to adopt a Code of Ethics bylaw within 120 days of October 26, 2016 (February 23, 2017). The Code of Ethics Bylaw will define how members will act when dealing with members of council, municipal employees, and the public. This Bylaw must include the prescribed minimum Code of Ethics set out in regulations (Schedule 1, Part III of the Appendix); and set out a process to deal with contraventions of the Code of Ethics.
The Code of Ethics may also include:
- provisions for members of committees, controlled corporations, and other bodies established by council who are not member of council;
- rules regarding censure or suspension of a member of council who has contravened the Code of Ethics, subject to regulations;
- policies regarding accepting gifts or benefits; and/or
- any other statement of ethics or standards determined appropriate by the council.
Section 66.2 of the Act also states that if a Code of Ethics has not been adopted by a council by the date required, the prescribed Code of Ethics is deemed to be adopted.
Section 68 – Oath or Affirmation of Office: Each member of council is required to take an official Oath or Affirmation in the prescribed form prior to commencing their duties. The amended provisions clarify that the Oath or Affirmation includes statements that the member:
- is qualified to hold office
- has read, understands, and will comply with the Code of Ethics and other rules of conduct and procedures applicable;
- has not received and will not receive payment or reward for the exercise of office or corrupt practices;
- promises to perform the duties of office; and
- shall disclose any conflict of interest.
Until the council adopts it own Code of Ethics, council members shall read the prescribed Code of Ethics and then take the new Oath or Affirmation. When the council adopts its own Code of Ethics, council members are required to retake the Oath.
AMENDMENTS TO THE CITIES REGULATIONS:
Section 3.2 – Public Disclosure Statements: added to clarify the ongoing duty of a council member to disclose by written statement any amendments to their public disclosure statement if a conflict of interest is declared by the member that involves information that:
- has not previously been disclosed on his or her public disclosure statement; and
- is information or a matter that is required to be disclosed on the public disclosure statement.
The clerk will make any changes as noted by the member of council and date when the change was noted.
A Council member may revise his/her disclosure statement any time a material change occurs or if he/she or another person notices an error or omission. A member of council is required to declare any and all conflicts of interest in matters, not only those relating to the information on his/her disclosure statement.