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City of Vancouver to get an Integrity Commissioner

A new code of conduct was approved as well.
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FILE PHOTO: Council voted to create an integrity commissioner during a meeting last week. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Toronto has one, Calgary has one, even Surrey has one.

Now Vancouver will join the list of Canadian municipalities with an integrity commissioner. Last week the city's standing committee on finances and services approved a policy that will see the city hire an independent integrity commissioner to weigh in on issues of ethics at council.

They also approved a new code of conduct by-law for council and advisory board members; a separate code will be forthcoming for staff.

The new integrity commissioner policy follows the city's approval of adding an auditor general. Currently, staff and councillors are working on filling that role; Vancouver was the only major city without one for a while.

The commissioner will be hired via a vote by council and serve two-year terms. The new office will have a budget of $200,000.

"As this is a new role, it is difficult to estimate the exact costs required, but noting that additional time will likely be required in the first year to establish procedures, and educational material, we estimate that costs may be in the range of $200,000," notes city staff in a report to council.

The impetus for the new policy was a 2019 council resolution that asked staff to look into the city's code of conduct. Staff identified some shortcomings and policy is being written to bring things back up to snuff.