The Honourable J. David Wake, Integrity Commissioner, today released his report into a complaint regarding Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition and Member of Provincial Parliament for Hamilton Centre. The report is in response to an affidavit submitted by Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener–Conestoga, on February 2, 2022, in which he requested an opinion under section 30 of the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994.
Mr. Harris alleged that Ms. Horwath breached the Act or Ontario parliamentary convention by using legislative resources for partisan purposes when her Chief of Staff attended a virtual training session titled “Campaign School 2021” organized by the Ontario New Democratic Party while he was located within Queen’s Park.
During the inquiry, the Chief of Staff acknowledged and accepted that his participation in the event was from his Queen’s Park office and included the use of his Legislative Assembly issued laptop. He recognized that this was contrary to parliamentary convention and apologized to Ms. Horwath and to the Commissioner.
The Commissioner found that the Chief of Staff’s inadvertent lapse in judgement should not be attributed to Ms. Horwath as she did not know that he was attending the partisan event from his Queen’s Park office. Given the Chief of Staff’s experience and knowledge of the rules around parliamentary convention, the Commissioner also found that it would not be reasonable to expect Ms. Horwath to anticipate a breach of this nature.
The Commissioner concluded that the evidence did not establish that Ms. Horwath breached parliamentary convention. The full report can be found at www.oico.on.ca under MPP Integrity, Commissioner’s Reports.
The Commissioner is not available for interviews.
About the OIC
The Office has seven mandates under five pieces of legislation:
- Members’ Integrity, providing confidential conflict of interest advice to MPPs and conducting inquiries into alleged breaches;
- Ministers’ Staff Ethical Conduct, providing conflict of interest advice and direction to public servants in ministers’ offices;
- Lobbyist Registration, operating Ontario’s lobbyist registry and conducting investigations into potential non-compliance;
- Disclosure of Wrongdoing, receiving whistleblowing disclosures from current and former members of the Ontario Public Service;
- Public Sector Ethics, providing conflict of interest advice and direction to Ethics Executives in ministries and public bodies; and,
- Expenses Review:
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, Opposition leaders, and their staff; and,
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of selected agencies.
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