Municipal Code of Ethics Bylaws – Provision to Disqualify from Office
Res #: 13-23A
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations
WHEREAS all rural municipalities are required to have a Code of Ethics bylaw, pursuant to section 93.1 of The Municipalities Act.
WHEREAS subsection 93.1(7)(d) of The Municipalities Act states that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing rules or limitations regarding the censure or suspension of a member of council who has contravened a code of ethics adopted pursuant to this section.
WHEREAS the sample Code of Ethics Bylaw prepared by the Ministry of Government Relations only contemplates remedial actions as strong as suspension of a member of council for a Code of Ethics violation.
WHEREAS section 147 of The Municipalities Act states the reasons that a member of council may be disqualified, which include violations of section 142 (Public Disclosure Statements) and section 144 (Disclosure of Conflict of Interest) of the act, but not around matters relating to violations of Code of Ethics.
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to amend The Municipalities Act to contemplate members of council being disqualified from council as a remedial measure to the most severe violations of a Code of Ethics bylaw.
Responses From: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations
May 31, 2023
- The Municipalities Act requires municipalities to have a process to deal with contraventions in their code of ethics Councils have several options to address improper conduct, including censure, suspension, mandatory training, or other consequences. Council’s actions are transparent to the residents of the municipality through the minutes and by making reports public. Therefore, council members who contravene the code of ethics are publicly account able for their actions and response.
- Council members are ultimately accountable to the people who elect Voters make the decision on whether or not to re-elect a council member if they choose to run again for office. Removing a council member from that position before an election interferes with the democratic will of voters who put them there. Therefore, any action that effectively results in the removal from office would be undemocratic.
- The decision to add disqualification criteria for council members requires extensive analysis and consultation, due to the potentially serious The Ministry of Government Relations will review the disqualification criteria the next time general amendments are made to the municipal legislation.
The Honourable Don McMorris – Minister of Government Relations, Government of Saskatchewan