Commissioner Dawson recommends changes to Conflict of Interest Act
Ottawa, February 11, 2013
Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson is recommending changes to the Conflict of Interest Act, which she has administered since it came into force in July 2007. She discussed her recommendations in an appearance today before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics as part of its five-year review of the legislation.
“I believe that my recommendations would help to clarify the rules, ensure transparency and fairness and, above all, strengthen the means by which the Act’s objectives might be achieved,” Commissioner Dawson said.
“Many of my individual recommendations collectively address broader thematic areas that are of particular concern to me, and that I consider to be priorities.” Those eight priority areas are:
· Increasing transparency around gifts and other advantages;
· Strengthening the Act’s post-employment provisions;
· Narrowing the overly broad prohibition on engaging in outside activities;
· Narrowing the overly broad prohibition on holding controlled assets;
· Introducing some disclosure and reporting obligations for non-reporting public office holders;
· Addressing misinformation relating to investigative work;
· Adding administrative monetary penalties for breaches of the Act’s substantive provisions; and
· Harmonizing the Act and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, which is under review by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
Commissioner Dawson's appearance before the Committee was originally scheduled for January 30 but was rescheduled because of other parliamentary proceedings taking place at the time.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner was created under the Federal Accountability Act. It administers the Conflict of Interest Act and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons. These two regimes seek to ensure that public officials, whether appointed or elected, do not use their offices to further private interests.
The Commissioner’s written submission and her opening statement regarding the five-year review of the Act are available on this website.
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