June 23, 2022 – Yesterday, the Senate Ethics Officer (SEO) submitted his 2021-2022 Annual Report on the administration of the Ethics and Conflict of Interest Code for Senators (the Code) to the Speaker of the Senate. The Annual Report was tabled in the Senate today.
The SEO has continued to provide advice to senators with a view to preventing conflicts of interest from arising rather than addressing them once they have arisen. The SEO did not complete any preliminary reviews or inquiries during the year. No harassment and violence cases were referred to him under the new Senate Harassment and Violence Prevention Policy (Policy).
The Code was modified twice during the fiscal year. A first series of modifications to the Code focused on procedural and technical improvements, primarily related to the annual disclosure process. A second series of amendments harmonized the Code with the Policy. A new definition of “harassment and violence”, a new ethical obligation, and a new part on harassment and violence were added. The role of the SEO in harassment and violence cases was redefined. The Annual Report comments on the Code amendments and on the principles found in the Code.
The Office of the SEO introduced the first ever guidelines to better inform senators and the public. The Guideline on Gifts and Other Benefits and the Guideline on Sponsored Travel help to better understand the Code and how the Office administers it.
The 2021-2022 Annual Report may be consulted at: https://seo-cse.sencanada.ca/en/reports-and-inquiries/reports/