Code of Ethics Act
BILL NO. 126
4th Session, 61st General Assembly
61 Elizabeth II, 2012
Private Member's Bill
Code of Ethics Act
The Honourable Stephen McNeil
First Reading: November 9, 2012
Be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:
1 This Act may be cited as the Code of Ethics Act.
2 The purpose of this Act is to ensure that members aspire to, and maintain, the highest in public-service ethics and preserve the integrity and dignity of the House of Assembly.
3 In this Act,
(a) "Commissioner" means the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner under the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act;
(b) "Code of Ethics" means the Code of Ethics for members set out in Schedule B to this Act;
(c) "member" means a member of the Assembly, including a member of the Exec-utive Council, and includes the leader of a recognized party, whether or not the leader has been elected to the Assembly or appointed to the Executive Council, and the leader of a political party listed in Schedule A to this Act.
4 The Chief Clerk of the Assembly, after consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer, may add to the list of political parties in Schedule A to this Act the name of any party that, in the opinion of the Chief Clerk, has the avowed purpose of seeking election of its members to the Assembly.
5 The Commissioner shall review best practices and then implement and periodically review and update an appropriate orientation program and training respecting public-service ethics laws and principles for members.
6 (1) Within 30 days of a member's election for the first time to the Assembly, the Chief Clerk of the Assembly shall ensure that the orientation program and training is given to the member.
(2) Within 30 days of a general election, the Chief Clerk shall ensure that the orientation program and training is given to all members who have been previously elected to the Assembly.
7 (1) A member may, by application in writing, request that the Commissioner give an opinion and recommendations on any matter respecting the Code of Ethics.
(2) The Commissioner may make such inquiries as the Commissioner considers appropriate and provide the member with a written opinion and recommendations.
(3) The opinion and recommendations of the Commissioner to a member are confidential.
8 Subsection 27A(1) of Chapter 4 of the Acts of 1991, the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act, is repealed and the following subsection substituted:
27A (1) The designated person for the purpose of this Act shall be known as the "Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner".
The Green Party of Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia Liberal Party
The Nova Scotia New Democratic Party
The Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia
Code of Ethics
The citizens and businesses of Nova Scotia are entitled to responsible, fair and honest government that has earned the public's full confidence for integrity. The proper operation of democratic government requires that decision-makers be independent, impartial and accountable to those they serve. The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to set a standard of conduct for all elected officials.
1 We honour the public trust as stewards of the Province of Nova Scotia:
(a) I am a steward of the public trust.
(b) I do not use my office or the resources of the Province for personal gain.
(c) I am a prudent steward of public resources and actively consider the impact of my decisions on the financial and social stability of the province and its residents.
(d) I am prepared to make decisions in the public's best interest based on the merits and substance of the matter at hand, and to take responsibility for my actions, whether those decisions are popular or not.
(e) I will not act in any manner, whether within the business of the House of Assembly, or external to its operations, that would cause the House of Assembly to fall into disrepute.
2 We maintain open and honest communication:
(a) I am honest and forthright with my fellow officials, the public and others, even when it is uncomfortable to do so.
(b) I encourage diverse public engagement in our decision-making processes and support the public's right to know.
3 We will hold ourselves as individuals and the House of Assembly as a whole accountable for acting consistently with this Code of Ethics.
4 The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner, upon receipt of a complaint or question forwarded to the Commissioner by resolution of the House of Assembly, may investigate report and make recommendations or responses in writing to the Assembly.
5 The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner may recommend
(a) that a member has acted within the Code of Ethics;
(b) that a member be publicly reprimanded;
(c) that a member suspend the performance of his or her duties as a member for a specified time;
(d) such other remedy as the Commissioner considers reasonable and appropriate.
6 Where the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner determines that an allegation of a contravention of the Code of Ethics is frivolous or vexatious, the Commissioner shall dismiss the matter and grant relief as the Commissioner may determine.
7 The Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner's report must be made public and must include the reasons for the decision and the reasons for the particular recommendation.
8 The decision and recommendation of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner must be provided to the House of Assembly by delivery of a copy of the report to the Chief Clerk of the Assembly and made public within thirty days of the referral of the complaint by the Assembly.
9 The House of Assembly shall determine whether the recommendation of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Commissioner be accepted, rejected, modified or amended and the decision of the Assembly is binding.
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