Accountability & Transparency
Accountability, transparency and openness are standards of good government that enhance public trust. They are achieved through the Town of Collingwood adopting measures ensuring, to the best of its ability, that all activities and services are undertaken utilizing a process that is open and accessible to its stakeholders. Council of the Town of Collingwood acknowledges that it is responsible to provide good government for its stakeholders in an accountable and transparent manner, guided by the following principles:
- Encouraging public access and participation to ensure that decision making is responsive to the needs of its constituents and receptive to their opinions;
- Delivering high quality services to our citizens; and
- Promoting the efficient use of public resources.
To find out more on the Town of Collingwood's accountability and transparency framework, click on the links below or contact:
Jocelyn McCauley, Accountability Officer
Town of Collingwood
P.O. Box 157, 97 Hurontario St.
Collingwood, ON L9Y 3Z5
It's our responsibility to provide an effective government for everyone in Collingwood. This means doing everything we can to be accountable and transparent by encouraging public access and participation in the matters that affect our Town.
The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on how the Corporation of the Town of Collingwood ensures municipal matters are approached in an accountable and transparent manner. To view the Town's Accountability and Transparency Policy, click on the following link Accountability and Transparency Policy (PDF).
In 2019, the position of Accountability Officer was created in order to enhance the Town of Collingwood’s existing accountability and transparency framework. The Accountability Officer is responsible for ensuring that the Town’s procedures and policies are clearly set out and accessible, and that the day-to-day operations of the Town are transparent and compliant with relevant legislation, regulation, and best practice.
This oversight includes:
- acting as the Lobbyist Registrar in an independent manner;
- administering and recommending edits to the Town’s Accountability and Transparency policy and other related policies;
- providing oversight and guidance to the procurement office;
- regularly reviewing the Code of Conduct and recommending edits in consultation with the Clerk, CAO, and/or Integrity Commissioner as may be necessary for Council’s consideration; and
- training and educating the public, the municipality and members of council and local boards regarding accountability, transparency and ethics.
The Accountability Officer also provides general legal advice on administrative, legislative, and contractual matters relating to the Town’s operations.
What is the Code of Conduct?
The Code of Conduct (By-Law No. 2015-082) reinforces the Town of Collingwood's Accountability and Transparency Policy and other relevant legislation within which all Members of Council, Local Boards and Advisory Committees must operate. The Code of Conduct serves to enhance public trust and improve the quality of public administration and governance by encouraging high standards of conduct on the part of all government officials, ensuring that those Members share a common standard of integrity through adherence to its principles.
The Code of Conduct is intended to supplement and be compatible with the laws governing the conduct of Members. The key principles include:
- Members to whom this Code of Conduct applies shall serve in a conscientious and diligent manner;
- Members shall be committed to performing their functions with integrity without using the influence of their office;
- Members shall avoid all conflicts of interest;
- Members are expected to perform their duties of office and to arrange their private affairs in a manner that promotes public confidence and will bear close legal and public scrutiny;
- Members are responsible for making honest statements and shall not make any statement when they know that statement is false, or with the intent to mislead other Members or the public; and,
- Members shall serve the public interest by upholding the laws and policies established by the Federal Parliament, Ontario Legislature, and the laws and policies adopted by the Town.
The Code of Conduct is intended to provide a guideline for elected officials in exercising their policy-making role having regard to the statements and ideals as enunciated hereunder.
Submitting a Complaint
Informal Complaint Protocol: Any person or a representative of an organization who has identified or witnessed behaviour or an activity by a member of Council that they believe is in contravention of the Code of Conduct (the “Code”) or Municipal Conflict of Interest Act may wish to address the prohibited behaviour or activity themselves as follows:
- Advise the member that the behaviour or activity contravenes the Code;
- Encourage the member to stop the prohibited behaviour or activity;
- Keep a written record of the incidents including dates, times, locations, other persons present, and any other relevant information;
- If applicable, confirm to the member your satisfaction with the response of the member; or, if applicable, advise the member of your dissatisfaction with the response; and
- Consider the need to pursue the matter through a formal complaint.
All persons and organizations are encouraged to initially pursue this informal complaint procedure as a means of stopping and remedying a behaviour or activity that is prohibited by the Code. However, it is not a precondition or a prerequisite that those complaining must pursue the informal complaint procedure before pursuing a formal complaint.
Formal Complaint Protocol: Any individual who has identified or witnessed behaviour or activity by a Member that appears to be in contravention of the Code of Conduct or Municipal Conflict of Interest Act may address his or her concerns through the formal complaint process set out below, if resolution was not found through the informal complaint process.
All formal complaints must be made using the Code of Conduct - Complaint Form (fillable PDF). Hard-copies are available through the Clerk’s Department located at Town Hall, 97 Hurontario Street, Collingwood.
Formal complaints are to be submitted directly to the Integrity Commissioner in a sealed envelope marked "private and confidential".
Municipal Conflict of Interest Act - Declaration of Interest
All declarations of interest received in writting can be found on the Conflict of Interest Registry.
Disclosure Statements - Gifts
For additional information, please contact the Town's Accountability Officer:
Jocelyn McCauley, Accountability Officer
Town of Collingwood
P.O. Box 157, 97 Hurontario St.
Collingwood, ON L9Y 3Z5
The Council-Staff Relations Policy is intended to guide the nature of business interactions between Members of Council and Staff and provide a framework for that relationship. The Town of Collingwood recognizes the importance of Council-Staff relations as a vital component of an effective municipal government and is committed to a respectful and productive relationship between and amongst Council, Members of Council, and Staff of the Town, in furtherance of their respective roles established by statute, municipal bylaws and policies, corporate administrative direction, and operating conventions.
Closed meetings are sometimes necessary to deal with certain matters, receive information or give direction. The provincial government has set rules for a council, local board or a committee to go into a closed meeting that are outlined in section 239 of the Municipal Act 2001, as amended, and are required to be strictly followed.
As of January 1, 2008 any person or corporation is be able to request that an investigation be undertaken respecting whether a municipality or local board or committee of either, has complied with closed meeting rules outlined in the Municipal Act, 2001 or the applicable procedural by-law.
The Town of Collingwood has engaged the services of the Ontario Ombudsman as the Municipal Closed Meeting Investigator to conduct investigations upon receipt of a complaint in respect to meetings or parts of meetings that are closed to the public. The Ombudsman’s Office will determine compliance with the Act or the applicable procedural by-law with respect to closed meetings and report on the results of such investigations.
The Town of Collingwood is committed to ensuring that any request for an investigation under Section 239 of the Municipal Act, 2001, as amended is dealt with in a fair, open and expeditious manner. The Town commits to full co-operation including the provision of all information requested by the Ontario Ombudsman, either written or through interviews, to assist in any investigations.
Complaints may be submitted to Ombudsman Ontario through the following contacts:
Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario
483 Bay Street
10th floor, South Tower
Toronto, ON M5G 2C9
Complaints staff at the Ontario Ombudsman Office are available 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You may also leave a voice message outside of office hours. An appointment is recommended for in-person (walk-in) complaints. Please call 1-800-263-1830 to schedule an appointment.
- Toll-free (inside Ontario only): 1-800-263-1830
- Outside Ontario: 416-586-3300
- TTY (teletypewriter): 1-866-411-4211
- Fax: 416-586-3485
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online complaint form
In December 2017, Town Council appointed Principles Integrity to act at its Integrity Commissioner providing accountability services to the Town beginning January 1, 2018. The services of Principles Integrity include:
- Providing advice on the application of the Code of Conduct, Town policies, procedures and rules, the complaint protocol and section 5 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- Conducting inquiries regarding whether a member has contravened the Code of Conduct or section 5 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- Advising members, upon written request, with respect to member's obligations under the Code of Conduct, Town policies, procedures and rules, the complaint protocol and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- Preparing opinions on policy matters and make other reports to council as requested on issues of ethics and integrity;
- Offering educational information and training to council, to members and to the public on matters related to the Code of Conduct and issues of ethics and integrity and to the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act;
- Providing general information to members of the public, on request, about the Code of Conduct, the complaint protocol and the availability of complaint resolution services or referrals as contemplated by the complaint protocol;
- Maintaining custody and control of the integrity commissioner's complaint and inquiry files and, on completion of his or her term of appointment, to transfer open files relating to ongoing matters to the incoming Integrity Commissioner appointed by council;
- Providing such other services respecting ethical and integrity matters as assigned by council or as may be required by the Municipal Act, 2001.
Archived Reports submitted by the Integrity Commissioner
2014-01-27 IC Report to Council - Review of Code of Conduct
2014-10-20 IC Report to Council - Rath v. Lloyd
2015-04-20 IC Report to Council - Hill v. Doherty
2015-06-15 IC Report to Council - Annual Report
2015-08-24 IC Report to Council - Murray v. Fryer
2018-05-14 IC Report to Council - S Cooper
For more information contact the Town's Accountability Officer or Integrity Commissioner:
Jeffrey A. Abrams and Janice Atwood-Petkovski
Implemented in 2020, the Lobbyist Registry is an online tool that provides accountability and transparency to lobbying activities by giving the public access to information about who is communicating with Members of Council and Town Staff.
For learn more, or to register your activities as a lobbyist, visit: Lobbyist Registry
Due to the current events associated with COVID-19, we at the Town of Collingwood would like to provide you with an update on how we are administering requests made under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). To help in keeping our staff safe, many are working remotely and may not be in a position to search for the requested records until back in the office, resulting in a delay to complete your request. Since our municipal facilities are currently closed to the public, and should you wish to submit a request, please submit your completed application directly to email@example.com. Application fee of $5 is being waived at this time. All communications will be done through email correspondence to keep you updated on your request.
Please note: The Ontario government has issued a suspension order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, effective March 16 that ‘freezes’ the 30-day response-time set out in Ontario’s access laws (MFIPPA) until the suspension is lifted by the province.
For information on current IPC services, please visit https://www.ipc.on.ca/newsrelease/ipc-closure-during-covid-19-outbreak/
Ontario's Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) provides an individual with the right to access records of information, including one's own personal information, under the custody and control of a local government institution. Individuals wanting to submit a formal request for information under the access to information legislation (MFIPPA) may contact the Town of Collingwood Clerk's Department at:
Town of Collingwood Clerk's Department
Becky Dahl, Deputy Clerk
97 Hurontario St., P.O. Box 157
Collingwood, ON L9Y 3Z5
Phone: 705-445-1030 Ext. 3230
Formal requests must be made in writing using the Request Form and accompanied by a $5 application fee and can be mailed or dropped off at the address provided above. In addition to the application fee, you may be required to pay other fees (as listed below). The rules regarding the payment and amount of fees are set out in the Act and its regulations. Payment can be made by cash, debit or cheque by mail or in person at the address provided above.
Basis of the Act
- Access rights are balanced with privacy protection
- All paper documents, computer files, e-mail and other forms of stored data are all considered to be records of the "institution" (i.e. the Corporation of the Town of Collingwood)
- Subject to certain limitations, there is a right of access by the public to records in the Town’s custody and control
- Subject again to certain limitations, the personal information of individuals has to be protected and is not accessible by other individuals
- The Town of Collingwood promotes open government and fosters an organizational structure that advances the fundamental principles of the Act:
- Information (general records) should be available to the public
- Individuals should have access to their own personal information
- Exemptions to access should be limited and specific
- The Town should protect the privacy of individuals with respect to the personal information it collects and maintains.
Routine Access to Municipal Government Records
Individuals wishing routine access to municipal government records should begin by contacting the Town of Collingwood at 705-445-1030. You will be connected with the Town department holding the records you are seeking.
The appropriate departmental staff will then determine if the request should be submitted formally under MFIPPA, or if the records will be provided as a routine disclosure. It is important to note that the rules governing access and privacy under MFIPPA apply to both formal and informal requests for information.
General Information Requests
Requests for information about a person other than yourself or about a municipal program or activity are considered "general information requests" and have different fees than for personal information requests. The following fees apply for requests for general information:
|Fees For General Information Requests|
Personal Information Requests
If you are requesting information about yourself, your request is considered a "personal information request". The following fees may apply to requests for your personal information:
|Fees For Personal Information Requests|
You will be given a fee estimate, if it is anticipated fees are more than $25.00. If the estimate of fees to be paid is $100.00 or more, you may be required to pay a 50% deposit.