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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 paper or electronic copy of the report to be deposited with the Clerk of the Senate at the first opportunity.
48. (19) A copy of the report deposited with the Clerk of the Senate pursuant to subsection (18) is a public document.
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.
48. (21) An inquiry in respect of a Senator who ceases to be a Senator is permanently suspended unless the Committee decides otherwise.
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).