Precedent Setting Conflict of Interest Court Decision in Elliot Lake


E4m, Elliot Lake’s Integrity Commissioner during the inquiry into allegations that then,  Councillor Patrie contravened the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act in 2019, both confident in the work it undertook and pleased with the Judge’s decision regarding removal and disqualification from Office

The following statements were released to media.

Yesterday E4m, the Integrity Commissioner in the inquiry into allegations that, then Councillor Patrie contravened the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act in 2019 and subsequent court application (the “Patrie Matter”) in Elliot Lake, released this brief statement with respect and in response to Justice A. Rasaiah’s decision of January 9, 2023. “This is the second decision by a Superior Court that has held Elliot Lake Councillors to account for infractions of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act brought forward by E4m over the past few years.”

“E4m, as an organization, has always been supportive of and strives to empower excellence in the municipal sector. We strongly advocate for appropriate council training and for municipal councillors to seek advice. Today, we along with our Integrity Commissioner Team are pleased with Justice Rasaiah’s recent decision finding that Mr. Patrie breached Sections 5 (1) and (2) of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and we also appreciate the detailed analysis in Justice Rasaiah’s decision for the removal and disqualification of Mr. Patrie from office under section 9 (1) .1 of the Act. This provides guidance to both Councillors and Integrity Commissioners going forward” stated Peggy Young-Lovelace, President, and Chair for E4m. “This is another precedent setting case, sadly, at the cost of the City of Elliot Lake taxpayers.”

As one of Ontario’s Integrity Commissioners, we appreciate the decision made by Justice
Rasaiah on January 9, 2023, not only because it was an appropriate step that needed to
be taken in Elliot Lake, but more importantly because it sets an important judicial precedent on matters related to inappropriate Council behaviour and improper actions to influence decisions before them.

E4m has long advocated that the Ontario Government implemented the Integrity Commissioner regime to ensure that elected municipal government officials be held
accountable, be transparent and maintain the utmost integrity in their duties as members of Council for the benefit of all of their citizens, not themselves.

Justice Rasaiah, in her judgment of January 9, 2023, reiterated that very notion by stating that “The Government of Ontario has highlighted the importance of integrity,
independence and accountability in local government decision-making, the importance
of certainty in reconciling the public duties and pecuniary interests of members, and those members are expected to perform their duties of office with integrity and impartiality in a manner that will bear the closest scrutiny. Patrie, in my view, fell significantly below these expectations.”

As one of many Integrity Commissioners in Ontario, E4m strongly advocates that Councils invest in education about members’ obligations pursuant to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the Municipality’s ethics policies and that they proactively contact the Integrity Commissioner for advice on matters that may engage those rules.

E4m strives to provide accessible training and advice so that Council members are confident and competent in their actions so that they can avoid complaints and enforcement actions which can cost municipalities thousands of dollars and can adversely affect the finances of small communities. “This is definitely an area where Councils and Integrity Commissioners should be pro-active rather than reactive.” says Young-Lovelace


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