The Honourable J. David Wake, Integrity Commissioner, today released his report into a complaint regarding Jessica Bell, Member of Provincial Parliament for University–Rosedale. 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. Bell breached the Act or Ontario parliamentary convention by using constituency resources for partisan purposes when: 1) she posted to her constituency website and distributed paper copies of a flyer advertising a roundtable meeting with Ms. Bell in her capacity as MPP that included the logo of the Ontario New Democratic Party (“NDP”); and 2) distributed a letter on her MPP letterhead that promoted a charitable gift card drive jointly organized with the local NDP riding association.
After reviewing the allegations and the response from Ms. Bell, in which she admitted the breach, Commissioner Wake found that she contravened the Ontario parliamentary convention of not using constituency office resources for partisan purposes. As Ms. Bell admitted the breach promptly, advised that she and her staff had attended refresher training and since the Commissioner was satisfied the contravention was inadvertent, he recommends that no penalty be imposed and that it is unnecessary to make additional recommendations.
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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