Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators

Purposes

Purposes

1. The purposes of this Code are to
(a) maintain and enhance public confidence and trust in the integrity of Senators and the Senate;
(b) provide for greater certainty and guidance for Senators when dealing with issues that may present foreseeable real or apparent conflicts of interest; and
(c) establish clear standards and a transparent system by which questions relating to proper conduct may be addressed by an independent, non-partisan adviser.

Principles

Precedence to parliamentary duties and functions

2. (1) Senators shall give precedence to their parliamentary duties and functions over any other duty or activity, consistent with their summons to the Senate, which commands them to lay aside all difficulties and excuses to perform their parliamentary duties and functions.

Principles

2. (2) Given that service in Parliament is a public trust, the Senate recognizes and declares that Senators are expected
(a) to remain members of their communities and regions and to continue their activities in those communities and regions while serving the public interest and those they represent to the best of their abilities;
(b) to fulfil their public duties while upholding the highest standards so as to avoid conflicts of interest and maintain and enhance public confidence and trust in the integrity of each Senator and in the Senate; and
(c) to arrange their private affairs so that foreseeable real or apparent conflicts of interest may be prevented from arising, but if such a conflict does arise, to resolve it in a way that protects the public interest.

Privacy

2. (3) The Senate further declares that this Code shall be interpreted and administered so that Senators and their families shall be afforded a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Interpretation

Definitions

3. (1) The following definitions apply in this Code.
“Committee”
« Comité »
“Committee” means the Committee designated or established under section 35.
“common-law partner”
« conjoint de fait »
“common-law partner” means a person who is cohabiting with a Senator in a conjugal relationship, having so cohabited for at least one year.
“Intersessional Authority”
« autorité intersessionnelle »
“Intersessional Authority on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators” means the committee established by section 38.
“parliamentary duties and functions”
« fonctions parlementaires »
“parliamentary duties and functions” means duties and activities related to the position of Senator, wherever performed, and includes public and official business and partisan matters.
“Senate Ethics Officer”
« conseiller sénatorial en éthique »
“Senate Ethics Officer” means the Senate Ethics Officer appointed under section 20.1 of the Parliament of Canada Act.
“spouse”
« époux »
“spouse” means a person to whom a Senator is married but does not include a person from whom the Senator is separated where all support obligations and family property have been dealt with by a separation agreement or by a court order.

Family Members

3. (2) The following are the family members of a Senator for the purposes of this Code:
(a) a Senator’s spouse or common-law partner; and
(b) a child of a Senator, a child of a Senator’s spouse or common-law partner, or a person whom a Senator treats as a child of the family, who
     (i) has not reached the age of 18 years, or
     (ii) has reached that age but is primarily dependent on a Senator or a Senator’s spouse or common-law partner for financial support.

For Greater Certainty

3. (3) For greater certainty, a Senator who is on leave of absence, suspended or absent due to illness is required to comply with all requirements and obligations under the Code.

Activities and Jurisdiction Preserved

Assisting the Public

4. Senators are encouraged to continue to assist members of the public as long as their actions are consistent with their obligations under this Code.

Carrying on Activities

5. Senators who are not ministers of the Crown may participate in any outside activities, including the following, as long as they are able to comply with the principles of the Code and fulfil their obligations under it:
(a) engaging in employment or in the practice of a profession;
(b) carrying on a business;
(c) being a director or officer in a corporation, association, trade union or not-for-profit organization; and
(d) being a partner in a partnership.

Existing Committee Jurisdiction

6. Nothing in this Code affects the jurisdiction of the Standing Senate Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration.

Role of the Speaker

7. Procedural matters referred to in this Code that are expressly provided for in the Rules of the Senate are under the jurisdiction and authority of the Speaker rather than the Senate Ethics Officer.

Rules of Conduct

General conduct

7.1 (1) A Senator’s conduct shall uphold the highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of Senator.

Idem

7.1 (2) A Senator shall refrain from acting in a way that could reflect adversely on the position of Senator or the institution of the Senate.

Conduct: parliamentary duties and functions

7.2 A Senator shall perform his or her parliamentary duties and functions with dignity, honour and integrity. 

Furthering private interests

8. When performing parliamentary duties and functions, a Senator shall not act or attempt to act in any way to further his or her private interests or those of a family member; or to improperly further another person's or entity's private interests. 

Use of influence

9. A Senator shall not use or attempt to use his or her position as a Senator to influence a decision of another person so as to further the Senator's private interests or those of a family member, or to improperly further person's or entity's private interests. 

Use of information

10. (1) If, as a result of his or her position, a Senator obtains information that is not generally available to the public, the Senator shall not use or attempt to use the information to further the Senator’s private interests or those of a family member, or to improperly further another person’s or entity’s private interests.

Conveying information

10. (2) A Senator shall not convey or attempt to convey information referred to in subsection (1) to another person if the Senator knows, or reasonably ought to know, that the information may be used to further the Senator’s private interests, or those of a family member, or to improperly further another person’s or entity’s private interests.

Clarification: furthering private interests

11. (1) In sections 8 to 10, furthering private interests of a person or entity, including the Senator’s own private interests, means actions taken by a Senator for the purpose of achieving, directly or indirectly, any of the following:
(a) an increase in, or the preservation of, the value of the person’s or entity’s assets;
(b) the elimination or a reduction in the amount of the person’s or entity’s liabilities;
(c) the acquisition of a financial interest by the person or entity;
(d) an increase in the person’s or entity’s income from a contract, a business or a profession;
(e) an increase in the person’s income from employment;
(f) the person becoming a director or officer in a corporation, association, trade union or not-for-profit organization; or
(g) the person becoming a partner in a partner-ship.

Clarification: not furthering private interests

11. (2) A Senator is not considered to further his or her own private interests or the private interests of another person or entity if the matter in question
(a) is of general application;
(b) affects the Senator or the other person or entity as one of a broad class of the public; or
(c) concerns the remuneration or benefits of the Senator as provided under an Act of Parliament or a resolution of the Senate or of a Senate committee.

Declaration of a private interest: Senate or committee

12. (1) If a Senator has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she, or a family member, has a private interest that might be affected by a matter that is before the Senate or a committee of which the Senator is a member, the Senator shall make a declaration regarding the general nature of the private interest. The declaration can be made orally on the record or in writing to the Clerk of the Senate or the clerk of the committee, as the case may be, but shall be made no later than the first occasion at which the Senator is present during consideration of the matter. The Speaker of the Senate shall cause the declaration to be recorded in the Journals of the Senate and the Chair of the committee shall, subject to subsection (4), cause the declaration to be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings of the committee.

Subsequent declaration 

12. (2) If a Senator becomes aware at a later date of a private interest that should have been declared under subsection (1), the Senator shall make the required declaration forthwith.

Declaration recorded

12. (3) The Clerk of the Senate or the clerk of the committee, as the case may be, shall send the declaration to the Senate Ethics Officer who, subject to subsection (4) and paragraph 31(1)(j), shall file it with the Senator’s public disclosure summary.

Where declaration in camera

12. (4) In any case in which the declaration was made during an in camera meeting, the Chair of the committee and Senate Ethics Officer shall obtain the consent of the subcommittee on agenda and procedure of the committee concerned before causing the declaration to be recorded in the Minutes of Proceedings of the committee or filing it with the Senator’s public disclosure summary, as the case may be.

Further declaration

12. (5) A declaration made in camera that, in compliance with subsection (4), has been neither recorded nor filed with the Senator’s public disclosure summary is only valid in respect of the proceeding during which the declaration was made or the matter that the declaration concerned was discussed, and the Senator shall make a further declaration at the first possible opportunity.

Declaration of a private interest: other circumstances

12. (6) In any circumstances other than those in subsection (1) that involve the Senator’s parliamentary duties and functions, a Senator who has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she, or a family member, has a private interest that might be affected shall make an oral declaration regarding the general nature of the private interest at the first opportunity.

Declaration of retraction

12. (7) A Senator may, by declaration made under this section, retract a previous declaration, in which case the Senator may participate in debate or other deliberations and vote on the matter in respect of which the previous declaration was made.

Debate in the Senate

13. (1) A Senator who has made a declaration under section 12 regarding a matter that is before the Senate may not participate in debate or any other deliberations in the Senate with respect to that matter.

Debate in committee where Senator is member

13. (2) A Senator who has made a declaration under section 12 regarding a matter that is before a committee of the Senate of which the Senator is a member may not participate in debate or any other deliberations in the committee on the matter, and must withdraw from the committee for the duration of those proceedings, but the Senator need not resign from the committee.

Debate in committee where Senator is not member

13. (3) A Senator who has reasonable grounds to believe that he or she, or a family member, has a private interest that might be affected by a matter that is before a committee of the Senate of which the Senator is not a member may not participate in debate or any other deliberations in the committee on the matter, and must withdraw from the commit-tee for the duration of those proceedings.

Debate where Senator has not yet declared

13. (4) A Senator who is required by section 12 to make a declaration but has not yet done so may not participate in debate or any other deliberations on the matter and, in the case of committee proceedings, the Senator must withdraw from the committee for the duration of those proceedings.

Prohibition on voting

14. A Senator who has made a declaration under section 12, or a Senator who is required to make such a declaration but has not yet done so, may not vote on the matter but may abstain.

Procedure

15. If a Senator reasonably believes that another Senator has failed to make a declaration of a private interest as required by section 12 or has failed to comply with section 13 or 14, the matter may be raised with the Senate Ethics Officer.

Clarification: having a private interest

16. For the purpose of sections 12 to 14, “private interest” means those interests that can be furthered in subsection 11(1), but does not include the matters listed in subsection 11(2).

Prohibition: gifts and other benefits 

17. (1) Neither a Senator, nor a family member, shall accept, directly or indirectly, any gift or other benefit, except compensation authorized by law, that could reasonably be considered to relate to the Senator’s position.

Exception

17. (2) A Senator, and a family member, may, however, accept gifts or other benefits received as a normal expression of courtesy or protocol, or within the customary standards of hospitality that normally accompany the Senator’s position.

Statement: gift or other benefit

17. (3) If a gift or other benefit that is accepted under subsection (2) by a Senator or his or her family member exceeds $500 in value, or if the total value of all such gifts or benefits received from one source in a 12-month period exceeds $500, the Senator shall, within 30 days after the gift or benefit is received or after that total value is exceeded, as the case may be, file with the Senate Ethics Officer a statement disclosing the nature and value of the gifts or other benefits, their source and the circumstances under which they were given.

Statement: sponsored travel

18. (1) Notwithstanding subsection 17(1), a Senator may accept, for the Senator and guests of the Senator, sponsored travel that arises from or relates to the Senator’s position. If the travel costs of a Senator or any guest exceed $500 and are not paid personally by the Senator or the guest, and the travel is not paid through the programs for international and interparliamentary affairs of the Parliament of Canada, by the Senate, the Government of Canada or the Senator’s political party, the Senator shall, within 30 days after the end of the trip, file a statement with the Senate Ethics Officer.

Contents of statement

18. (2) The statement shall disclose the name of the person or organization paying for the trip, the destination or destinations, the purpose and length of the trip, whether or not any guest was also sponsored, and the general nature of the benefits received.

Duplication

18. (3) Any disclosure made in relation to sponsored travel does not need to be disclosed as a gift or other benefit.

Consent of Senate

19. Gifts, other benefits and sponsored travel accepted in compliance with the requirements of sections 17 and 18 are deemed to have received the consent of the Senate thereto for all purposes.

Government contracts

20. A Senator shall not knowingly be a party, directly or through a subcontract, to a contract or other business arrangement with the Government of Canada or any federal agency or body under which the Senator receives a benefit unless the Senate Ethics Officer provides a written opinion that
(a) due to special circumstances the contract or other business arrangement is in the public interest; or
(b) the contract or other business arrangement is unlikely to affect the Senator’s obligations under this Code.

Public corporations

21. (1) A Senator may own securities in a public corporation that contracts with the Government of Canada or any federal agency or body unless the holdings are so significant that the Senate Ethics Officer provides a written opinion that they are likely to affect the Senator’s obligations under this Code.

Public interest

21. (2) A contract between a public corporation and the Government of Canada or any federal agency or body that, in the Senate Ethics Officer’s opinion, is in the public interest due to special circumstances, shall not preclude a Senator from holding securities in that public corporation.

Government programs

21. (3) For the purpose of subsection (1), a public corporation shall not be considered to contract with the Government of Canada or any federal agency or body merely because the corporation participates in a government program that meets the criteria described in section 23.

Trust

21. (4) If the Senate Ethics Officer is of the opinion that the Senator’s obligations under this Code are likely to be affected under the circumstances of subsection (1), the Senator may comply with the Code by placing the securities in a trust under such terms as the Senate Ethics Officer considers appropriate.

Partnerships and private corporations

22. A Senator shall not have an interest in a partnership or in a private corporation that is a party, directly or through a subcontract, to a contract or other business arrangement with the Government of Canada or any federal agency or body under which the partnership or corporation receives a benefit unless the Senate Ethics Officer provides a written opinion that
(a) due to special circumstances the contract or other business arrangement is in the public interest; or
(b) the contract or other business arrangement is unlikely to affect the Senator’s obligations under this Code.

Clarification: government programs

23. For the purposes of sections 20 and 22, it is not prohibited to participate in a program operated or funded, in whole or in part, by the Government of Canada or any federal agency or body under which a Senator, or a partnership or private corporation in which a Senator has an interest, receives a benefit if
(a) the eligibility requirements of the program are met;
(b) the program is of general application or is available to a broad class of the public;
(c) there is no preferential treatment with respect to the application; and
(d) no special benefits are received that are not available to other participants in the program.

Trust

24. Section 22 does not apply if the Senator has entrusted his or her interest in a partnership or private corporation to one or more trustees on all of the following terms:
(a) the provisions of the trust have been approved by the Senate Ethics Officer;
(b) the trustees are at arm’s length from the Senator and have been approved by the Senate Ethics Officer;
(c) except as provided in paragraph (d), the trustees may not consult with the Senator with respect to managing the trust, but they may consult with the Senate Ethics Officer;
(d) the trustees may consult with the Senator, with the approval of the Senate Ethics Officer and in his or her presence, if an extraordinary event is likely to materially affect the trust property;
(e) in the case of an interest in a corporation, the Senator resigns any position of director or officer in the corporation;
(f) the trustees provide the Senate Ethics Officer annually with a written report setting out the nature of the trust property, the value of that property, the trust’s net income for the preceding year and the trustees’ fees, if any; and
(g) the trustees give the Senator sufficient information to permit the Senator to submit returns as required by the Income Tax Act and give the same information to the appropriate taxation authorities.

Pre-existing contracts

25. The rules in sections 20, 21 and 22 do not apply to a contract or other business arrangement that existed before a Senator’s appointment to the Senate, but they do apply to its renewal or extension.

Interest acquired by inheritance

26. The rules in sections 20, 21 and 22 do not apply to an interest acquired by inheritance until the first anniversary date of the transfer of legal and beneficial ownership. In special circumstances, the Senate Ethics Officer may extend this time period.

Duty to Disclose

Confidential disclosure statement: sitting Senators

27. (1) Every Senator shall file annually, on or before the date applicable to the Senator as established by the Senate Ethics Officer under subsection (2), a confidential statement disclosing the information required by section 28.

Filing date

27. (2) The date or dates on or before which the annual confidential disclosure statements are required to be filed shall be established by the Senate Ethics Officer following approval by the Committee.

Confidential disclosure statement: new Senators

27. (3) Within 120 days after being summoned to the Senate, a Senator shall file a confidential statement disclosing the information required by section 28.

Submission to Committee

27. (4) Thirty days after the date established under subsection (2), the Senate Ethics Officer shall submit to the Committee the name of any Senator who has not complied with his or her duty to file a confidential disclosure statement.

Errors or omissions

27. (5) If, at any time after the date established under subsection (2), the Senate Ethics Officer has reason to believe that a Senator’s confidential disclosure statement contains an error or omission, the Senate Ethics Officer shall notify the Senator concerned and request that the Senator provide the relevant information.

Response within 30 days

27. (6) Upon receipt of a request under subsection (5), the Senator shall provide the information within 30 days.

Family members

27. (7) In addition to any information required to be disclosed under subsection 28(1), a Senator may file with the Senate Ethics Officer a confidential disclosure statement relating to one or more of the Senator’s family members so that the Senator may discuss their interests in relation to the Senator’s obligations under this Code and receive advice in that regard.

Confidentiality

27. (8) The Senate Ethics Officer and all officers, employees, agents, advisers and consultants that may be employed or engaged by the Senate Ethics Officer shall keep all disclosure statements confidential.

Initial meeting with Senate Ethics Officer

27. (9) Senators, and in particular newly summoned Senators, who may have questions regarding their confidential disclosure duties should make every effort to meet with the Senate Ethics Officer before submitting their confidential disclosure statement.

Contents of confidential dislcosure statements

28. (1) Subject to subsection (4), regarding excluded matters, and any guidelines published by the Senate Ethics Officer under section 43, the confidential disclosure statement shall list:
(a) any employment, profession or business in which the Senator or the Senator’s spouse or common-law partner participates, including a description of the activities of the Senator, spouse or common-law partner;
(b) any corporations, income trusts and trade unions in which the Senator or the Senator’s spouse or common-law partner is a director or officer, and any partnerships in which the Senator or the Senator’s spouse or common-law partner is a partner, including a description of the activities of each entity;
(c) any associations and not-for-profit organizations in which the Senator or the Senator’s spouse or common-law partner is a director, officer, or patron, including memberships on advisory boards and any honorary positions;
(d) the nature but not the amount of any source of income over $2,000 that the Senator or the Senator’s spouse or common-law partner has received in the preceding 12 months and is likely to receive during the next 12 months; for this purpose,
       (i) a source of income from employment is the employer,
       (ii) a source of income from a contract is a party with whom the contract is made,
       (iii) a source of income arising from a business or profession is that business or profession, and
       (iv) a source of income arising from an investment is that investment;
(e) the source, nature and value of any contracts or other business arrangements with the Government of Canada or a federal agency or body that the Senator has directly, or through a subcontract;
(f) the source, nature and value of any contracts, subcontracts or other business arrangements with the Government of Canada or a federal agency or body that the Senator has by virtue of a partnership or a significant interest in a private corporation that the Senator is able to ascertain by making reasonable inquiries;
(g) the source, nature and value of any contracts or other business arrangements with the Government of Canada or a federal agency or body that a member of the Senator’s family has, directly or through a subcontract, or by virtue of a partnership or a significant interest in a private corporation;
(h) information regarding the nature but not the value of any assets and liabilities of the Senator or the Senator’s spouse or common-law partner over $10,000;
(i) any trust from which the Senator could, currently or in the future, either directly or indirectly, derive an income or other benefit; and
(j) any additional information that the Senator believes to be relevant to this Code.

Limitation

28. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a Senator is only required to disclose such information concerning the affairs of a spouse or common-law partner or other family member as the Senator is able to ascertain by making reasonable inquiries or of which the Senator has knowledge.

Standard of disclosure

28. (3) Where a Senator is required under this section or subsection 31(1) to disclose such information as the Senator is able to ascertain by making reasonable inquiries, the Senator’s disclosure shall be to the best of the Senator’s knowledge, information and belief.

Excluded matters

28. (4) For the purpose of subsection (1), it is not required to disclose properties used by the Senator or family members as residences; mortgages or hypothecs on such residences; household goods; personal effects; cash on hand or on deposit with a financial institution; guaranteed investment certificates; financial instruments issued by any Canadian government or agency; and obligations incurred for living expenses that will be discharged in the ordinary course of the Senator’s affairs.

Additional excluded matters

28. (5) The Senate Ethics Officer may, with the approval of the Committee, establish additional matters not required to be disclosed on the basis that they present no potential to interfere with the obligations of a Senator under this Code.

Material change

28. (6) A Senator shall report in writing any material change to the information relating to the confidential disclosure statement to the Senate Ethics Officer within 30 days after the change.

Meeting with Senate Ethics Officer

29. (1) After reviewing a Senator’s confidential disclosure statement, the Senate Ethics Officer may request to meet with the Senator to discuss the statement and the Senator’s obligations under this Code.

Necessary meeting

29. (2) If, pursuant to a request made under subsection (1), the Senate Ethics Officer advises the Senator that the meeting is necessary in order for the Senate Ethics Officer to carry out his or her duties and functions under the Code, the Senator shall meet with the Senate Ethics Officer.

Public Disclosure Summary

30. (1) The Senate Ethics Officer shall prepare a public disclosure summary based on each Senator’s confidential disclosure statement and submit it to the Senator for review.

Review

30. (2) The Senator shall, within 30 days of receipt of the public disclosure summary, review and return it to the Senate Ethics Officer with either his or her signed approval or proposed changes.

Contents of public disclosure summary

31. (1) The public disclosure summary shall list
(a) any employment, profession and business in which the Senator participates, including a description of the activities of the Senator;
(b) any corporations, income trusts and trade unions in which the Senator is a director or officer and any partnerships in which the Senator is a partner, including a description of the activities of each entity;
(c) any associations and not-for-profit organizations in which the Senator is a director, officer or patron, including memberships on advisory boards and any honorary positions;
(d) the source and nature but not the amount of any income over $2,000 that the Senator has received in the preceding 12 months and is likely to receive in the next 12 months;
(e) the source and nature but not the value of any contracts or other business arrangements with the Government of Canada or a federal agency or body that the Senator has, directly or through a subcontract, including the Senate Ethics Officer’s written opinion authorizing them;
(f) the source and nature but not the value of any contracts, subcontracts or other business arrangements with the Government of Canada or a federal agency or body that the Senator has by virtue of a partnership or a significant interest in a private corporation that the Senator is able to ascertain by making reasonable inquiries, including the Senate Ethics Officer’s written opinion authorizing them;
(g) the source and nature but not the value of any contracts or other business arrangements with the Government of Canada or a federal agency or body that a member of the Senator’s family has, directly or through a subcontract, or by virtue of a partnership or a significant interest in a private corporation, that the Senator is able to ascertain by making reasonable inquiries;
(h) information regarding the nature but not the value of any assets and liabilities of the Senator over $10,000;
(i) any trust from which the Senator could, currently or in the future, either directly or indirectly, derive an income or other benefit;
(j) any declarations of a private interest under section 12, unless the Senator has since retracted the declaration;
(k) any statements filed under sections 17 and 18 in relation to gifts and sponsored travel; and
(l) any statements of material change that pertain to the contents of this summary.

Discretion

31. (2) The Senate Ethics Officer need not include in the public disclosure summary information that he or she determines should not be disclosed because
(a) the information is not relevant to the purposes of this Code or is inconsequential, or
(b) a departure from the general principle of public disclosure is justified in the circumstances

Disagreement

32. In cases of disagreement between a Senator and the Senate Ethics Officer regarding the contents of the public disclosure summary, the Senate Ethics Officer shall refer the disputed matter to the Committee for decision.

Public inspection

33. (1) Each public disclosure summary is to be placed on file at the office of the Senate Ethics Officer and made available for public inspection.

Removal of file from registry

33. (2) A public disclosure file shall be removed from the public registry at the time that the Senator concerned ceases to be a Senator.

Online access

33. (3) Every public disclosure summary available for public inspection under this section shall also be made available online on the website of the Senate Ethics Officer.

Evasion

34. A Senator shall not take any action that has as its purpose the evasion of the Senator’s obligations under this Code.

Committee

Designation or establishment

35. (1) At the beginning of each session, a Committee of the Senate shall be designated or established for the purposes of this Code.

Membership

35. (2) The Committee shall be composed of five members, three of whom shall constitute a quorum.

No ex officio members

35. (3) The Committee shall have no ex officio members.

Election of members

35. (4) Two of the Committee members shall be elected by secret ballot in the caucus of Government Senators at the opening of the session; two of the Committee members shall be elected by secret ballot in the caucus of Opposition Senators at the opening of the session; the fifth member shall be elected by the majority of the other four members after the election of the last of the other four members.

Presentation and adoption of motion

35. (5) The Leader of the Government in the Senate, seconded by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, shall present a motion on the full membership of the Committee to the Senate, which motion shall be deemed adopted without any debate or vote.

Chair

35. (6) The Chair of the Committee shall be elected by four or more members.

Removal

35. (7) A member is deemed removed from the Committee as of the time that
(a) the Senate Ethics Officer informs the Committee that a request for an inquiry made by the Senator is warranted; or
(b) the Senator becomes the subject of an inquiry under the Code.

Substitutions

35. (8) When a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Committee, the replacement member shall be elected by the same method as the former member being replaced.

Meetings in camera

36. (1) Subject to subsection (2), meetings of the Committee shall be held in camera.

Meetings in public

36. (2) Where an inquiry report from the Senate Ethics Officer is being considered, the Committee may hold meetings in public at the request of the Senator who is the subject of the inquiry report.

Attendance

36. (3) Subject to subsection (4), the Committee may limit attendance at its meetings.

Affected Senator

36. (4) The Committee shall give to a Senator who is the subject of an inquiry report from the Senate Ethics Officer notice of all meetings at which the report is being considered, and shall admit the Senator to those meetings, but the Committee may exclude that Senator from those meetings or portions of meetings at which the Committee is considering a draft agenda or a draft report.

Withdrawal 

36. (5) A member of the Committee who is the subject of a matter being considered by the Committee relating to that specific Senator shall withdraw from the Committee during its deliberations.

Jurisdiction

37. (1) Subject to subsection 41(2) and to the general jurisdiction of the Senate, the Committee is responsible for all matters relating to this Code, including all forms involving Senators that are used in its administration.

General directives

37. (2) The Committee may, after consultation with the Senate Ethics Officer, give general directives to the Senate Ethics Officer concerning the interpretation, application and administration of the Code, but not concerning its interpretation and application as it relates to an individual Senator’s particular circumstances.

Intersessional Authority

Intersessional Authority created

38. During a period of prorogation or dissolution of Parliament and until the members of a successor Committee are appointed by the Senate, there shall be a committee known as the Intersessional Authority on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.

Composition

39. The Intersessional Authority on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators shall be composed of the members of the Committee.

General authority

40. (1) The Senate Ethics Officer shall carry out his or her duties and functions under the general direction of the Intersessional Authority on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators.

Additional functions

40. (2) Subject to the rules, direction and control of the Senate and of the Committee, the Intersessional Authority on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Senators shall carry out such other of the Committee’s duties and functions as the Committee gives to it by resolution.

Senate Ethics Officer

Senate Ethics Officer

41. (1) The Senate Ethics Officer is an independent officer who performs the duties and functions assigned by the Senate under this Code.

Independent status 

41. (2) The Senate Ethics Officer shall carry out his or her duties and functions under the general direction of the Committee, but is independent in interpreting and applying this Code as it relates to an individual Senator’s particular circumstances.

Opinions and Advice

Request for opinion

42. (1) In response to a request in writing from a Senator on any matter respecting the Senator’s obligations under this Code, the Senate Ethics Officer shall provide the Senator with a written opinion containing any recommendations that the Senate Ethics Officer considers appropriate.

Opinion binding

42. (2) An opinion given by the Senate Ethics Officer to a Senator is binding on the Senate Ethics Officer in relation to any subsequent consideration of the subject matter of the opinion as long as all the relevant facts that were known to the Senator were disclosed to the Senate Ethics Officer.

Written advice binding

42. (3) Any written advice given by the Senate Ethics Officer to a Senator on any matter relating to this Code is binding on the Senate Ethics Officer in relation to any subsequent consideration of the subject matter of the advice as long as all the relevant facts that were known to the Senator were disclosed to the Senate Ethics Officer.

Confidentiality

42. (4) A written opinion or advice is confidential and may be made public only by the Senator or with his or her written consent.

Proof of compliance

42. (5) A written opinion or advice given by the Senate Ethics Officer to a Senator under this section and relied upon by that Senator is conclusive proof that the Senator has fully complied with the Senator’s obligations under this Code, as long as all the relevant facts that were known to the Senator were disclosed to the Senate Ethics Officer.

Publication

42. (6) Nothing in this section prevents the Senate Ethics Officer, subject to the approval of the Committee, from publishing opinions and advice for the guidance of Senators, provided that no details are included that could identify a Senator.

Guidelines

43. Subject to the approval of the Committee, the Senate Ethics Officer may publish guidelines for the assistance of Senators on any matter concerning the interpretation of this Code that the Senate Ethics Officer considers advisable.

Enforcement

General

Privilege

44. (1) A breach of the Code by any one Senator affects all Senators and the ability of the Senate to carry out its functions, and may lead the Senate to impose sanctions or order remedial measures.

Enforcement process

44. (2) To further compliance, the Code provides for a five-step enforcement process:
(a) statements of compliance from Senators;
(b) preliminary review by the Senate Ethics Officer;
(c) inquiry by the Senate Ethics Officer;
(d) Committee study; and
(e) Senate decision.

Respect for process

44. (3) Senators shall respect in all particulars the enforcement process established by the Code.

Preventive Enforcement

Statement of compliance

45. (1) Every Senator shall file annually, on or before the date applicable to the Senator as established by the Senate Ethics Officer under subsection (2), a written statement of compliance confirming that he or she has read the Code within the last 30 days and
(a) confirming that he or she is, to the best of his or her knowledge and belief, in compliance with the Code as of the day the statement is filed; or
(b) providing details of his or her non-compliance.

Filing date

45. (2) The date or dates on or before which the annual statements of compliance are required to be filed shall be established by the Senate Ethics Officer following approval by the Committee.

Public inspection

45. (3) Each statement of compliance is to be placed on file at the office of the Senate Ethics Officer and made available for public inspection.

Removal of statement from registry

45. (4) A statement of compliance shall be removed from the public registry at the time the Senator concerned ceases to be a Senator.

Online access

45. (5) Every statement of compliance available for public inspection under this section shall also be made available online on the website of the Senate Ethics Officer.

Additional information or clarification

46. Nothing in this Code prevents the Senate Ethics Officer from asking for further information or clarification from a Senator on a matter that relates to the Senator’s obligations under the Code.

Preliminary Review

Nature of preliminary review

47. (1) A preliminary review is conducted to decide if an inquiry is warranted to determine whether a Senator has not complied with his or her obligations under the Code.

Mandate

47. (2) The Senate Ethics Officer shall conduct a preliminary review if he or she:
(a) has reasonable grounds to believe a Senator has not complied with his or her obligations under the Code; or
(b) receives a request to conduct an inquiry from a Senator who has reasonable grounds to believe another Senator has not complied with his or her obligations under the Code.

Form of request

47. (3) A request for an inquiry under paragraph (2)(b) shall be in writing and shall be signed by the initiating Senator, and it shall identify the alleged non-compliance and the reasonable grounds for the belief that the Code has not been complied with.

Notice of preliminary review

47. (4) The Senate Ethics Officer shall notify a Senator who is to be the subject of a preliminary review and shall provide the Senator with the following:
(a) in the case of a review initiated by the Senate Ethics Officer under paragraph (2)(a), a written notice stating the reasonable grounds for the belief that the Senator has not complied with the Code and identifying the obligations under the Code that would not have been complied with; or
(b) in the case of a review following a request for an inquiry received from a Senator under paragraph (2)(b), a copy of the request received from the initiating Senator.

Confidential and prompt

47. (5) The Senate Ethics Officer shall conduct a preliminary review confidentially and as promptly as circumstances permit.

Cooperation

47. (6) Any person participating in the preliminary review process is expected to respect its confidential nature and to cooperate with the Senate Ethics Officer.

Opportunity to be heard

47. (7) The Senate Ethics Officer shall afford the Senator who is the subject of a preliminary review an opportunity to respond within 15 days following the day on which the Senator is notified pursuant to subsection (4).

Extension

47. (8) The period provided under subsection (7) may be extended by the Senate Ethics Officer if the circumstances so warrant.

Unsubstantiated evidence

47. (9) Reasonable grounds to believe a Senator has not complied with his or her obligations under the Code may be based on an unsubstantiated oral or written statement for the purpose of initiating a preliminary review, but such a statement is not adequate proof of an alleged fact for the purpose of making a finding in a preliminary review.

Preliminary determination

47. (10) Following a preliminary review, the Senate Ethics Officer shall write a letter to the Senator who was the subject of the review, informing the Senator of his or her reasoned decision as to whether or not an inquiry is warranted.

Findings regarding reasonable grounds

47. (11) In the preliminary determination letter, the Senate Ethics Officer may make one of the following findings regarding reasonable grounds:
(a) that there are no reasonable grounds for concern that the Senator has breached his or her obligations under the Code;
(b) that there are insufficient reasonable grounds for concern that the Senator has breached his or her obligations under the Code; or
(c) that there are sufficient reasonable grounds for concern that the Senator may have breached his or her obligations under the Code.

Findings regarding breach 

47. (12) In the preliminary determination letter, the Senate Ethics Officer may make one or more of the following findings regarding a possible breach of the Code:
(a) that an obligation under the Code may have been breached but that the non-compliance was trivial;
(b) that an obligation under the Code may have been breached but that the non-compliance occurred through inadvertence or an error in judgment made in good faith;
(c) that an obligation under the Code may have been breached but that all reasonable measures were taken to prevent the non-compliance; and
(d) that an obligation under the Code may have been breached, but that the situation has been addressed and remedied to the satisfaction of the Senate Ethics Officer or the Senator has undertaken to address and remedy the situation to the satisfaction of the Senate Ethics Officer.

Frivolous request

47. (13) In the preliminary determination letter, the Senate Ethics Officer may make a finding that the request for an inquiry was frivolous or vexatious or was not made in good faith, in which case he or she shall also determine whether an inquiry is warranted into the conduct of the Senator who made the request.

Delivery to subject Senator

47. (14) The Senate Ethics Officer shall first deliver his or her preliminary determination letter, on a confidential basis, to the Senator who was the subject of the preliminary review.

Delivery to initiating Senator

 47. (15) In the case of a review initiated following the request of a Senator under paragraph (2)(b), the Senate Ethics Officer shall also deliver a copy of the preliminary determination letter, on a confidential basis, to the initiating Senator.

Delivery to Committee

47. (16) Unless the matter has remained confidential, the Senate Ethics Officer shall also provide a copy of his or her preliminary determination letter, on a confidential basis, to the Committee when he or she has determined that an inquiry is not warranted.

Tabling

47. (17) The Chair of the Committee shall cause a true copy of the preliminary determination letter received by the Committee under subsection (16) to be tabled in the Senate at the first possible opportunity; if the Senate is not sitting on the day on which the Committee receives the letter, or if Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, the Chair shall also cause a true copy of the letter to be deposited with the Clerk of the Senate at the first opportunity.

Public document

47. (18) A copy of a preliminary determination letter deposited with the Clerk of the Senate pursuant to subsection (17) is a public document.

Committee

47. (19) The Committee may ask the Senate Ethics Officer at any time whether a preliminary review about a particular Senator and matter is being or has been conducted, and the Senate Ethics Officer shall respond but shall not provide the Committee with any further information.

Preliminary review suspended

47. (20) A preliminary review in respect of a Senator who ceases to be a Senator is permanently suspended unless the Committee decides otherwise.

Notice to Committee

47. (21) For the purpose of subsection (20), when a matter has remained confidential, the Senate Ethics Officer shall inform the Committee of the preliminary review and of its status.

Representations

47. (22) The Committee shall consider any representations from the former Senator, from any Senator who initiated the review and from the Senate Ethics Officer before making its decision under subsection (20).

Inquiry

Nature of inquiry

48. (1) An inquiry follows a preliminary review and is conducted to determine if a Senator has breached his or her obligations under the Code.

Mandate

48. (2) The Senate Ethics Officer shall conduct an inquiry in either of the following circumstances:
(a) where the Senate Ethics Officer determines that an inquiry is warranted after conducting the preliminary review; or
(b) where the Senator who was the subject of a preliminary review requests that the Senate Ethics Officer conduct the inquiry because the Senate Ethics Officer has made a finding that an obligation under the Code may have been breached, but he or she has also determined that an inquiry is not warranted.

Limitation 

48. (3) A request under paragraph (2)(b) shall be made within seven days following the day on which the preliminary determination letter is delivered under subsection 47(14).

Powers of the Senate Ethics Officer

48. (4) In carrying out an inquiry, the Senate Ethics Officer has the power to send for persons, papers, and records, which powers may be enforced by the Senate acting on the recommendation of the Committee following a request from the Senate Ethics Officer.

Notice of inquiry

48. (5) The Senate Ethics Officer shall notify a Senator who is to be the subject of an inquiry when the inquiry will take place.

Confidential and prompt

48. (6) The Senate Ethics Officer shall conduct an inquiry confidentially and as promptly as circumstances permit.

Cooperation: Senators

48. (7) Senators shall cooperate without delay with the Senate Ethics Officer in respect of any inquiry.

Cooperation: any person

48. (8) Any person participating in the inquiry process is expected to respect its confidential nature and to cooperate with the Senate Ethics Officer.

Fair hearing

48. (9) The Senate Ethics Officer shall give the Senator who is the subject of an inquiry information concerning relevant facts, access to relevant documentation, such opportunity as the Senate Ethics Officer considers reasonable to make representations, whether in writing or in person, and such opportunity to be present in person, accompanied or alone, at other stages in the process, as the Senate Ethics Officer considers appropriate.

Adviser

48. (10) A counsel or other adviser who accompanies a Senator pursuant to subsection (9) may advise the Senator confidentially, but may only make representations on behalf of the Senator to the extent authorized by the Senate Ethics Officer.

Standard of proof

48. (11) The determination that a Senator has breached his or her obligations under the Code shall be made on the balance of probabilities.

Report

48. (12) Following an inquiry, the Senate Ethics Officer shall make a report in writing, with findings, reasons, recommendations and any supporting documentation that he or she determines essential; the Senate Ethics Officer may include in the report any recommendations arising from the matter that concern the Code and its interpretation.

Mitigation

48. (13) If the Senate Ethics Officer concludes that a Senator has not complied with his or her obligations under the Code but has taken all reasonable measures to prevent the non-compliance, or that the non-compliance was trivial or occurred through inadvertence or an error in judgment made in good faith, the Senate Ethics Officer shall so state in the report and may recommend that no sanction be imposed.

Remedial measures

48. (14) Where the Senate Ethics Officer makes a finding that the Senator breached his or her obligations under the Code, the Senate Ethics Officer shall also indicate whether remedial measures to the satisfaction of the Senate Ethics Officer have been agreed to by the Senator, whether the Senator did not agree to remedial measures that would have been to the satisfaction of the Senate Ethics Officer and what those measures were, or whether remedial measures were either not necessary or not available.

Delivery to subject Senator

48. (15) The Senate Ethics Officer shall first deliver his or her inquiry report, on a confidential basis, to the Senator who was the subject of the inquiry.

Delivery to initiating Senator

48. (16) In the case of an inquiry initiated following the request of a Senator under paragraph 47(2)(b), the Senate Ethics Officer shall also deliver a copy of his or her inquiry report, on a confidential basis, to the initiating Senator.

Delivery to Committee

48. (17) The Senate Ethics Officer shall also provide a copy of his or her report, on a confidential basis, to the Committee.

Tabling

48. (18) The Chair of the Committee shall cause a true copy of the report received by the Committee under subsection (17) to be tabled in the Senate at the first possible opportunity; if the Senate is not sitting on the day on which the Committee receives the report, or if Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, the Chair shall also cause a true copy of the report to be deposited with the Clerk of the Senate at the first opportunity.

Public document

48. (19) A copy of the report deposited with the Clerk of the Senate pursuant to subsection (18) is a public document.

Committee

48. (20) The Committee may ask the Senate Ethics Officer at any time when an inquiry about a particular Senator is likely to be completed, and the Senate Ethics Officer shall respond but shall not provide the Committee with any further information.

Inquiry suspended

48. (21) An inquiry in respect of a Senator who ceases to be a Senator is permanently suspended unless the Committee decides otherwise.

Representations

48. (22) The Committee shall consider any representations from the former Senator, from any Senator who initiated the inquiry and from the Senate Ethics Officer before making its decision under subsection (21).

Committee Study

Consideration of inquiry report

49. (1) The Committee shall take into consideration an inquiry report from the Senate Ethics Officer as promptly as circumstances permit.

Right to be heard

49. (2) When considering an inquiry report for the purpose of determining the appropriate remedial measures or sanctions, the Committee shall afford a Senator who is the subject of a report the opportunity to be heard by the Committee.

Powers

49. (3) For greater certainty, the Committee has, in considering a report, all of the powers of a standing Senate committee.

Recommendations

49. (4) Where the Senate Ethics Officer has determined that the Senator has breached his or her obligations under the Code, the Committee shall recommend, in a report to the Senate, the appropriate remedial measures or sanctions taking into account section 31 of the Constitution Act, 1867. The recommendations available to the Committee include, but are not limited to, the following:
(a) the return of any gift or other benefit;
(b) any remedial measure;
(c) the reduction or removal of access to Senate resources;
(d) the removal of assignments, duties or powers conferred by the Senate;
(e) a limitation on the right to speak or vote;
(f) an invitation or order to apologize;
(g) a censure, admonition or reprimand; or
(h) a suspension.

Study suspended

49. (5) Consideration of an inquiry report in respect of a Senator who ceases to be a Senator is permanently suspended unless the Committee decides otherwise.

Representations

49. (6) The Committee shall consider any representations from the former Senator, from any Senator who initiated the inquiry and from the Senate Ethics Officer before making its decision under subsection (5).

Senate Decision

Tabling for information only

50. An inquiry report of the Senate Ethics Officer is tabled in the Senate for information only, and no motion shall be moved in the Senate for its adoption.

Senator may speak 

51. (1) Despite any other provision of the Code, a Senator who is the subject of a Committee report may speak to any motion related to it.

Right of reply

51. (2) The Senator who is the subject of a Committee report may exercise the right of final reply.

Former Senator

51. (3) Where a motion is to adopt a Committee report concerning a former Senator, the former Senator shall be invited to speak to the report as a witness in Committee of the Whole before disposition of the motion.

Referral back

51. (4) The Senate may refer a Committee report back to the Committee for further consideration.

No vote

51. (5) For greater certainty, a Senator who is the subject of a Committee report may not vote on any motion related to it.

Suspension of Process

Investigation

52. (1) When the matter under review or inquiry by the Senate Ethics Officer or study by the Committee is a matter in respect of which an investigation is being conducted by proper authorities to determine if an offence under an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province or territory has been committed, the review, inquiry or study may be suspended by the Senate Ethics Officer or the Committee, as the case may be, if:
(a) the Senate Ethics Officer or the Committee, as the case may be, believes that the review, inquiry or study could prejudice the investigation of the matter by the proper authorities; or
(b) the proper authorities request, in writing, that the review, inquiry or study be suspended.

Charges

52. (2) The Senate Ethics Officer shall suspend a preliminary review or an inquiry and the Committee shall suspend its study if the matter under review, inquiry or study is a matter in respect of which charges have been laid against the Senator under an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province or territory.

Resumption: investigation

52. (3) The preliminary review, inquiry or study suspended pursuant to subsection (1) may be resumed at any time by the Senate Ethics Officer or the Committee unless charges have been laid in respect of the matter under review, inquiry or study.

Resumption: charges

52. (4) A suspended procedure in respect of which charges have been laid against the Senator shall be resumed after the final disposition of the charges.

Notice

52. (5) The Senate Ethics Officer or the Committee shall notify the proper authorities when there are reasonable grounds to believe the Senator may have committed an offence under an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province or territory.

Public Communications

General communications

53. The Senate Ethics Officer may inform the public about the mandate, procedures and processes of the Office, about public decisions of the Office and about the Code, but shall not discuss the particular circumstances of an individual Senator except as expressly authorized by either a provision of the Code or the Committee.

Case communications

54. Where a matter is of public interest, the Senate Ethics Officer may inform the public whether or not the matter is under preliminary review or inquiry or has already been reviewed, inquired into and reported on or tabled in the Senate or with the Clerk, but shall not provide any further information; when to inform the public is a matter of discretion for the Senate Ethics Officer, to be exercised on a case-by-case basis.

Online access

55. Every preliminary determination letter, inquiry report, Committee report and decision of the Senate on any such Committee report shall be made available online at the website of the Senate Ethics Officer after it is made public by being tabled in or presented to the Senate or deposited with the Clerk of the Senate.

Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy to be minimally impaired

56. In interpreting and administering this Code, reasonable expectations of privacy shall be impaired as minimally as possible.

Confidentiality

57. (1) All information relating to the private interests of Senators and those of their family members received pursuant to this Code or created under it is to be kept confidential, except in accordance with this Code or as otherwise ordered by the Senate.

Inclusions

57. (2) For greater certainty, the requirement set out in subsection (1) applies to documents and information received in the course of an inquiry that the Senate Ethics Officer has suspended in accordance with section 52, and to documents and information retained by the Senate Ethics Officer pursuant to section 58.

Confidentiality 

57. (3) The Senate Ethics Officer and all officers, employees, agents, advisers and consultants that may be employed or engaged by the Senate Ethics Officer shall keep confidential all matters required to be kept confidential under this Code. Failure to do so shall constitute behaviour sufficient to justify either or both of the following:
(a) a resolution by the Senate under subsection 20.2(1) of the Parliament of Canada Act requesting the Governor in Council to remove the Senate Ethics Officer from office; or
(b) dismissal of any officers, employees, agents, advisers or consultants involved.

Retention of documents

58. (1) The Senate Ethics Officer shall retain all documents relating to a Senator for a period of 12 months after he or she ceases to be a Senator, after which, subject to subsections (2) to (4), the documents shall be destroyed.

Ongoing proceedings 

58. (2) Where, at the time that a Senator ceases to be a Senator, there is an investigation or inquiry in progress concerning the Senator or a charge has been laid against the Senator, the destruction of documents that relate to the matter shall be postponed until 12 months after the day of the final disposition of all related proceedings.

Return of confidential documents

58. (3) At a Senator’s request, confidential documents relating to a Senator may be returned to the Senator instead of being destroyed.

Archiving of public documents

58. (4) Public documents relating to a Senator shall be forwarded to the Senate archives.

Periodic Review

Committee review

59. The Committee shall undertake a comprehensive review of this Code and its provisions and operation once every five years, and shall submit a report to the Senate thereon, including a statement of any changes the Committee recommends.