Coming into compliance with provincial Bill 68, Fort Frances council now has a Code of Conduct.
During Monday night's regular meeting, town clerk Lisa Slomke explained the code is “intended to demonstrate a commitment to the public that members of council, [and] local boards and committees of council, will act with integrity, fairness, consistency, respect, and within the law without prejudice or bias.”
She added this is what council wants the community to know it does every day.
Slomke and deputy clerk Kathy Lawson attended a workshop Feb. 15 with Expertise for Municipalities and Wishart Law Firm, both from Sault Ste. Marie, who have developed a template in conjunction with about 35 municipalities between Wawa and North Bay.
This template for the basis of the Code of Conduct for this council.
“It definitely a tried, tested, and true template that we now have access to,” noted Slomke.
She added that if legislation changes in the future and for some reason the template needs to be changed, the town will be notified of any amendments.
Coun. Andrew Hallikas said town council wants to be “completely transparent and ethical in their dealings, and it's just nice to have a document where it lays that out for everyone.”
Slomke noted a page dedicated to the Code of Conduct will be added to the town's website in the future.
As per Bill 68, Ontario municipalities now are required to have a Code of Conduct and appoint an integrity commissioner prior to March 1, 2019.
Prior to Bill 68, having a Code of Conduct was an option—not mandatory.
As part of the process, council also approved a Code of Conduct inquiry protocol and passed a bylaw to appoint Paul S. Heayn, currently the town's closed meeting investigator, as its integrity commissioner, as well.