C-23.1 - Code of ethics and conduct of the Members of the National Assembly

Full text
chapter C-23.1
Code of ethics and conduct of the Members of the National Assembly
CODE OF ETHICS AND CONDUCT OF MEMBERS OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLYDecember 8 2010December 8 2010
AS, in their capacity as representatives of the people of Québec, Members of the National Assembly take part in the passage of legislation and the making of regulations, exercise the National Assembly’s power of supervision over the actions of the Government and its departments, bodies and agencies, assist individuals and groups who request help in their relations with the State, and participate in public debate;
AS, because of those functions, the people of Québec expect Members to embrace the values of the National Assembly and to observe certain rules of conduct, including, if they are members of the Conseil exécutif, when carrying out their duties as Ministers;

THE PARLIAMENT OF QUÉBEC ENACTS AS FOLLOWS:
TITLE PRELIMINARY
PURPOSE, APPLICATION AND INTERPRETATION
1. The purpose of this Code is to affirm the principal values of the National Assembly embraced by its Members, to set out the rules of conduct which they must observe, and to provide for the application and enforcement of those rules.
2010, c. 30, s. 1.
2. This Code applies to all Members of the National Assembly (“Members”). It also applies to the members of the Conseil exécutif (“Cabinet Ministers”) when carrying out their duties as Ministers.
For the purposes of this Code,
(1)  a Cabinet Minister who has not been elected to the National Assembly, or
(2)  as far as the imposition of a sanction for a violation of this Code is concerned, a person who has ceased to be a Member
is deemed to be a Member.
2010, c. 30, s. 2.
3. The Ethics Commissioner is responsible for the administration of this Code and comes under the National Assembly.
The Ethics Commissioner exercises the duties of office within the framework of the rights, privileges and immunities of the National Assembly.
This Code does not operate to limit the rights, privileges or immunities of the National Assembly.
2010, c. 30, s. 3.
4. This Code in no way affects the authority conferred by law on the Office of the National Assembly.
2010, c. 30, s. 4.
5. For the purposes of this Code,
(1)  “public body” means
(a)  a government agency or a government enterprise governed by the Auditor General Act (chapter V-5.01);
(b)  a body referred to in section 6 of that Act, a public or private institution under agreement governed by the Act respecting health services and social services (chapter S-4.2) or the regional council established by the Act respecting health services and social services for Cree Native persons (chapter S-5); or
(c)  any person designated by the National Assembly to carry out duties that come under the National Assembly and any body to which the National Assembly or a committee of the National Assembly appoints the majority of members;
(2)  “family member” means the Member’s spouse within the meaning of the Interpretation Act (chapter I-16), or a dependent child of the Member or the Member’s spouse.
2010, c. 30, s. 5.
TITLE I
VALUES AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
6. The following are the values of the National Assembly:
(1)  commitment to improving the social and economic situation of Quebecers;
(2)  high regard for and the protection of the National Assembly and its democratic institutions; and
(3)  respect for other Members, public servants and citizens.
The conduct of Members must be characterized by benevolence, integrity, adaptability, wisdom, honesty, sincerity and justice. Consequently, Members
(1)  show loyalty towards the people of Québec;
(2)  recognize that it is their duty to serve the citizens;
(3)  show rigour and diligence;
(4)  seek the truth and keep their word; and
(5)  preserve the memory of how the National Assembly and its democratic institutions function.
2010, c. 30, s. 6.
7. Members embrace the values set out in this Title.
2010, c. 30, s. 7.
8. Members recognize that these values must guide them in carrying out their duties of office and determining the rules of conduct applicable to them, and be taken into account in interpreting those rules. They strive for consistency between their actions and the values set out in this Title, even when their actions do not in themselves contravene the applicable rules of conduct.
2010, c. 30, s. 8.
9. Members recognize that their adherence to these values is essential to maintain the confidence of the people in them and the National Assembly and enable them to fully achieve their mission of serving the public interest.
2010, c. 30, s. 9.
TITLE IV
ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT
CHAPTER I
ETHICS COMMISSIONER
DIVISION I
APPOINTMENT, FUNCTIONS AND ORGANIZATION
62. On the joint motion of the Premier and the Leader of the Official Opposition, after consulting with the Leaders of the other authorized parties represented in the National Assembly and with the approval of two thirds of the Members, the National Assembly appoints an Ethics Commissioner to be responsible for the administration of this Code.
2010, c. 30, s. 62.
63. The Assembly determines in the same manner the remuneration, employment benefits and other conditions of employment of the Ethics Commissioner.
2010, c. 30, s. 63.
64. The Ethics Commissioner exercises the duties of office exclusively and on a full-time basis.
The Ethics Commissioner exercises any other function assigned by law to the Ethics Commissioner.
2010, c. 30, s. 64.
65. In exercising the duties of office, the Ethics Commissioner focusses on information and prevention and maintains high standards of confidentiality, objectivity and impartiality.
In all interventions and more particularly in determining the rules of conduct applicable to Members, the Ethics Commissioner takes into account the Members’ adherence to the values of the National Assembly and the principles set out in Title I.
2010, c. 30, s. 65.
66. The Ethics Commissioner is appointed for a fixed term of five years or less. At the expiry of the term, the Ethics Commissioner remains in office until reappointed or replaced.
The Ethics Commissioner may resign at any time by giving notice in writing to the President of the National Assembly. The Ethics Commissioner may only be removed by a resolution of the Assembly approved by two thirds of the Members.
2010, c. 30, s. 66.
67. If the Ethics Commissioner leaves office or is unable to act, the Government, after consulting with the Leaders of the authorized parties that are represented in the National Assembly, may designate a person to act as Ethics Commissioner for a period not exceeding six months. The Government determines the designated person’s remuneration and conditions of employment.
2010, c. 30, s. 67.
68. Before entering into office, the Ethics Commissioner must take the oath set out in the schedule before the President of the National Assembly.
2010, c. 30, s. 68.
69. The Ethics Commissioner may not
(1)  be related by blood, or connected by marriage or civil union, to a Member of the National Assembly, a person described in the second paragraph of section 2 or the Premier’s chief of staff up to the third degree inclusively; or
(2)  be a member of a federal, provincial or municipal political party or be a candidate on a ticket in a school election.
2010, c. 30, s. 69.
70. The Ethics Commissioner must not place himself or herself in a situation involving any direct or indirect conflict between the Ethics Commissioner’s private interests and the Ethics Commissioner’s duties of office.
2010, c. 30, s. 70.
71. The Office of the National Assembly may, by a regulation adopted by a unanimous decision, establish rules applicable to the Ethics Commissioner concerning conflicts of interest.
In force: 2011-07-01
The Ethics Commissioner must make a disclosure statement every year in accordance with section 38 and publish a disclosure summary in accordance with section 40.
2010, c. 30, s. 71.
72. If, in a specific case, the Ethics Commissioner finds that he or she cannot act in particular because of a conflict of interest situation or because his or her impartiality could be questioned, the Ethics Commissioner, after consulting with the Leaders of the authorized parties that are represented in the National Assembly, refers the case to an ad hoc commissioner.
The provisions applicable to the Ethics Commissioner apply, with the necessary modifications, to the ad hoc Commissioner, and any advisory opinion or report of the ad hoc Commissioner has the same effect as if it had been produced by the Ethics Commissioner.
2010, c. 30, s. 72.
73. Subject to the appropriations voted by the Office of the National Assembly, the Ethics Commissioner determines the maximum number of staff members needed for the exercise of the Ethics Commissioner’s functions, their assignment and the level of their positions.
Ethics Commissioner staff members are appointed in accordance with the Public Service Act (chapter F-3.1.1).
2010, c. 30, s. 73.
DIVISION II
FINANCIAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
74. The Ethics Commissioner prepares budget estimates every year and submits them before 1 April to the Office of the National Assembly, which approves them with or without modification.
At the Ethics Commissioner’s request, the Office of the National Assembly may determine the human, physical, financial and information management resource services to be provided at no charge to the Ethics Commissioner by the National Assembly.
2010, c. 30, s. 74.
75. If, during a fiscal year, the Ethics Commissioner foresees that the budget estimates approved by the Office of the National Assembly will be exceeded, the Ethics Commissioner prepares supplementary budget estimates and submits them to the Office of the National Assembly, which approves them with or without modification.
2010, c. 30, s. 75.
76. Chapter III, Chapter IV with the exception of section 44, of the second and fourth paragraphs of section 45, of sections 46 and 53 and of the third paragraph of section 57, Chapter VI and section 73 of the Public Administration Act (chapter A-6.01) apply to the Ethics Commissioner.
The Office of the National Assembly may, however, by a regulation adopted by a unanimous decision, derogate from that Act by specifying the provisions derogated from and the provisions that are to apply in their place.
2010, c. 30, s. 76.
77. The provisions of the Financial Administration Act (chapter A-6.001) applicable to budget-funded bodies, except sections 30 and 31, apply to the management of the financial resources of the Ethics Commissioner.
The Office of the National Assembly may, however, by a regulation adopted by a unanimous decision, derogate from that Act by specifying the provisions derogated from and the provisions that are to apply in their place.
2010, c. 30, s. 77.
78. The Ethics Commissioner may, by regulation, determine the conditions applicable to the contracts of the Ethics Commissioner.
A regulation under this section comes into force on the date it is approved by the Office of the National Assembly, and is published in the Gazette officielle du Québec.
2010, c. 30, s. 78.
80. The sums required for the administration of this Code and for the carrying out of the duties of office assigned by law to the Ethics Commissioner are taken out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
2010, c. 30, s. 80.
DIVISION III
MISCELLANEOUS
81. The Ethics Commissioner retains his or her authority in respect of a former Member for a period of five years after the end of the person’s term. Even after the expiry of that period, the Ethics Commissioner may continue an inquiry that had already begun.
2010, c. 30, s. 81.
82. The Ethics Commissioner must retain all documents relating to a Member for a period of 60 months after he or she ceases to be a Member. The documents are then to be destroyed unless an inquiry under this Code is in progress or has been suspended or a charge has been laid against the Member under an Act, and the documents may be relevant.
2010, c. 30, s. 82.
83. The Ethics Commissioner and the Ethics Commissioner’s staff members may not be prosecuted for an act or omission in good faith in the exercise of their functions.
2010, c. 30, s. 83.
84. No civil action may be brought by reason of the publication of a report of the Ethics Commissioner or the publication, in good faith, of an extract from or summary of such a report.
2010, c. 30, s. 84.
85. The Ethics Commissioner and the persons the Ethics Commissioner has authorized to conduct an inquiry may not be compelled to give testimony relating to information obtained in the exercise of their functions or to produce a document containing such information.
2010, c. 30, s. 85.
86. No remedy under the Code of Civil Procedure (chapter C-25), including an extraordinary recourse, may be exercised nor any injunction granted against the Ethics Commissioner or the persons the Ethics Commissioner has authorized to conduct an inquiry.
A judge of the Court of Appeal may, on a motion, annul by a summary proceeding any decision rendered or order or injunction issued contrary to the first paragraph.
2010, c. 30, s. 86.
CHAPTER II
ADVISORY OPINIONS OF THE ETHICS COMMISSIONER
89. The Ethics Commissioner may publish guidelines for the Members regarding the application of this Code, provided that no personal information is included.
2010, c. 30, s. 89.
90. The Ethics Commissioner organizes educational activities for Members and the general public on the role of the Ethics Commissioner and the application of this Code.
2010, c. 30, s. 90.
TITLE V
MISCELLANEOUS, AMENDING, TRANSITIONAL AND FINAL PROVISIONS
113. Despite section 168 of the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (chapter A-2.1), that Act does not apply to this Code or to any other legislative provision that assigns a function to the Ethics Commissioner.
2010, c. 30, s. 113.
130. A Cabinet Minister in office on 1 July 2011 must, not later than 30 September 2011, file a disclosure statement with the Ethics Commissioner in accordance with section 51.
A Member who is not a Cabinet Minister and is in office on 1 October 2011 must, not later than 31 December 2011, file a disclosure statement with the Ethics Commissioner in accordance with section 37.
2010, c. 30, s. 130.
131. No request for an advisory opinion submitted by a Member who is not a Cabinet Minister may be accepted by the Ethics Commissioner before 1 October 2011.
2010, c. 30, s. 131.
132. The Office of the National Assembly may appoint a jurisconsult in accordance with section 108 before 1 July 2011. However, no request for an advisory opinion submitted by a Cabinet Minister may be accepted by the jurisconsult before 1 July 2011, and no such request submitted by a Member who is not a Cabinet Minister may be accepted by the jurisconsult before 1 October 2011.
2010, c. 30, s. 132.
133. (Omitted).
2010, c. 30, s. 133.
SCHEDULE
(Section 68)
OATH
I, (name), declare under oath that I will exercise the functions of Ethics Commissioner with honesty and justice.
I further declare under oath that I will not reveal or disclose, unless duly authorized, anything that may come to my knowledge in or in connection with the exercise of my functions.
2010, c. 30, Schedule.