Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering, Durham turn to new firm this fall for Integrity Commissioner role

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Published June 13, 2022 at 1:53 pm

Oshawa and the Region of Durham will be placing responsibility for complaints about its elected officials in different hands this fall with the appointment of Principles Integrity as the new Integrity Commissioner.

Principles Integrity is a partnership operated by Jeffrey Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski, who each have more than 35 years of experience working for municipal government in the areas of municipal law and governance. They formed Principles Integrity in 2017 and now have more than 40 municipal clients in Ontario,

Principles Integrity will replace Guy Giorno of Fasken Martineau Dumoulin LLP, who has held the role for the past five years.

The integrity commissioner’s statutory role is bigger than just investigating code of conduct complaints; in fact, one of their primary roles is to advise councillors, on request, on ethical and other matters.

Those roles are:

  • Advise on ethical policy development
  • Educate on matters relating to ethical behaviour
  • Provide, on request, advice and opinions to members of Council and Local Boards
  • Provide, on request, advice and opinions to Council
  • Provide a mechanism to receive inquiries or complaints which allege a breach of ethical responsibilities
  • Resolve complaints
  • And where it is in the public interest to do so, investigate, report and make recommendations to council within the statutory framework, while guided by Council’s codes, policies and protocols.

In April Durham Region advised that it would begin a selection process for Integrity Commissioner services and as with the previous contract, a piggyback clause would be available to permit lower tier municipalities to appoint the same respondent, for the same terms and conditions including price.

Three proposals were received, with Principles Integrity winning the bid. Oshawa, Pickering and Whitby all participated in the process.

The hourly rate for Principles Integrity is $275 (slightly higher than Giorno) with prices fixed until 2024. Oshawa has $35,000 budgeted for the services.

Principles Integrity will be appointed as Integrity Commissioner for the City of Oshawa for the new Term of Council beginning November 15, with the option to renew for an additional term Report.

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