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Integrity Commissioner

Complaints Process

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As part of their commitment to accountability, Members of Council have approved a process for investigating and reporting on complaints about their ethical behaviour.

That process is set out in the Complaint Protocol which forms part of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, at Appendix B.

How to request an investigation

All complaints are handled in accordance with the Complaint Protocol, Appendix B to the Code of Conduct for Members of Council.

Anyone who identifies or witnesses behaviour or activity by a Member of Council that they believe contravenes the Rules of the Code of Conduct may pursue the matter either through the informal or formal complaint procedures set out in the Complaint Protocol.

Informal Complaint Procedure

Individuals are encouraged to use the informal complaint procedure to address behaviour or activity that they believe contravenes the Code of Conduct for Members of Council.

The informal procedure involves:

  1. Advising the Member that the behaviour or activity appears to contravene the Code of Conduct;
  2. Encouraging the Member to acknowledge and agree to stop the prohibited behaviour or activity and to avoid future occurrences of the prohibited behaviour or activity;
  3. Requesting the Integrity Commissioner to assist in informal discussion of the alleged complaint with the Member in an attempt to settle or resolve the issue;
  4. If applicable, confirming to the Member your satisfaction with the Member’s response; or, advising the Member of your dissatisfaction with their response.

Formal Complaint Procedure

Individuals who wish to make a formal complaint must do so by filling out the Formal Complaint Form and submitting it by email, fax or mail to:

Office of the Integrity Commissioner
c/o 2670 – 360 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB  R3C 3Z3

Fax: 204-943-3934

Complaints must be signed by an identifiable individual.  No anonymous complaints will be considered.

Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a complaint?

Complaints may be filed by members of the public, staff or Members of Council and Council as a whole.

Can an anonymous complaint be filed?

The formal complaint form requires that all formal complaints must be made in writing and signed by an identifiable individual. The identity of the complainant, however, will only be disclosed in circumstances where fairness requires disclosure or where required by law.  The complainant will be notified in advance if their identity is to be disclosed.

How do I make a complaint?

Complaints may be submitted by following the process set out in the Complaint Protocol and using the Formal Complaint Form.

Is there a fee to file a complaint?

No. There is no cost to submitting a complaint.

Is a formal complaint the only way to resolve an issue?

No.  Part A of the Complaint Protocol sets out an informal complaint process which allows a complainant to address concerns by either contacting the Member of Council directly or by asking the Integrity Commissioner to assist in informal resolution of the alleged complaint.

Individuals are encouraged to use this process as the first means of resolving an issue.  With the consent of the complainant and the Member who is the subject of the complaint, the Integrity Commissioner may participate in an informal resolution as mediator/conciliator of issues relating to the complaint.

Do I have to go through the informal process before I can submit a formal complaint?

No. The informal process is not a prerequisite to submitting a formal complaint.

Will the Integrity Commissioner launch a full investigation for every complaint received?

Not necessarily. The Integrity Commissioner has the discretion to deal with a matter without a formal investigation if he/she sees an opportunity for a successful resolution and with the agreement of both the complainant and the Member.

When a formal complaint is received the Integrity Commissioner will conduct an initial assessment.

If the Integrity Commissioner is of the opinion that:

  1. the conduct complained about is not within the Integrity Commissioner’s jurisdiction to investigate; or
  2. the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith; or
  3. there are no grounds or insufficient grounds for an investigation, or that it is unlikely that the complaint will succeed;

the Integrity Commissioner shall not conduct an investigation and, where this becomes apparent in the course of an investigation, shall terminate the investigation.

Are there any restrictions on when complaints can be submitted?

The Integrity Commissioner will not accept complaints relating to incidents which occurred before February 22, 2017.

For complaints about behaviour which occurred between February 22, 2017 and February 22, 2018, such complaints will only be received if filed by the date of enactment of the new Code.  Those complaints will be assessed having regard to the provisions of the 1994 Code of Conduct.

Complaints about conduct which occurs after the date of the enactment of the new Code, must generally be made:

  1. within 60 days after the date of conduct giving rise to the complaint; or
  2. within 60 days after the complainant became aware of the conduct giving rise to the complaint.

In a municipal election year, the Integrity Commissioner will not accept any complaints during the campaign period.  The “campaign period” is as defined in section 31(1) of The City of Winnipeg Charter:

  1. with respect to complaints about the Mayor - May 1; and
  2. with respect to complaints about a Councillor - June 30.
How will a complaint be investigated?

The Complaint Protocol establishes a process for investigating complaints as follows:

  • the Integrity Commissioner will:
    1. Provide the Member whose conduct is in question with the details of the complaint and any supporting material;
    2. request that the Member provide a written response to the complaint and any supporting material within ten days;
    3. provide a copy of the Member’s response to the complainant with a request that the complainant provide any further reply within ten days;
    4. provide a copy of that further reply, if any, to the Member.
  • the Integrity Commissioner may seek information from anyone relevant to the complaint and may receive such information either in person or in writing;
  • the Integrity Commissioner may ask to speak to anyone, or access and examine any documents including electronic materials and may enter any City work location, relevant to the complaint for the purpose of investigation and potential resolution of the complaint;
  • the Integrity Commissioner may make interim reports to Council where necessary and as required to address any instances of interference, obstruction, delay or retaliation encountered during the investigation.
Does the Integrity Commissioner investigate complaints about City employees or City Council staff?

No. The Integrity Commissioner does not have the authority to investigate complaints about City employees.  Staff who work in the offices of Members of Council are required as part of their employment, to acknowledge that they will be governed by the requirements of the Code of Conduct for Members of Council, in their actions. They are regulated by their respective employers who are the Members of Council, that is - the Councillors and the Mayor.

Staff who work in the offices of Members of Council cannot be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner.

What happens after an investigation is complete?

If the Integrity Commissioner decides that there has been no breach of the Code of Conduct he or she will advise the Member of Council and the complainant of that determination and will generally not report to Council about that determination except as part of an annual report.

Where the Integrity Commissioner finds that the complaint has been sustained either in whole or in part, the Integrity Commissioner shall report to Council publicly, outlining his or her findings and any recommended corrective sanctions.

The complainant will be provided with a copy of the Integrity Commissioner’s report to Council when the report is placed on the agenda for the meeting at which the report is to be considered.

If the Integrity Commissioner submits a report to Council, is Council obligated to do anything?

When Council receives a report from the Integrity Commissioner following an investigation, it must consider and act on that report at the same meeting to which the report is submitted.  Council has the option to apply sanctions based on the recommendations of the Integrity Commissioner.

What penalties or sanctions might be imposed if a contravention of the Code of Conduct is found?
  • the Member may be reprimanded;
  • the Member may be required to make a public apology;
  • the Member may be requested to return a gift or benefit or, reimburse the donor for the value of the gift or benefit;
  • the Member may be removed from a committee; and/or
  • the Mayor may remove the Member from his or her position as Chair of a committee.
If I have a question about the Code of Conduct or the Complaint Protocol, how do I get in touch with the Integrity Commissioner?

The Integrity Commissioner can be reached by .

Last update: May 14, 2019