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 III
SPECIAL RULES OF CONDUCT APPLICABLE TO CABINET MINISTERS
CHAPTER I
INTERPRETATION
42. For the purposes of this Title, a Member who is not a Cabinet Minister but is authorized to sit in the Cabinet is considered a Cabinet Minister.
2010, c. 30, s. 42.
CHAPTER V
DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
51. Within 60 days after being sworn in as a Cabinet Minister, and annually on or before the date set by the Ethics Commissioner, a Member must file with the Ethics Commissioner a statement disclosing his or her private interests and those of his or her family members. The statement is kept at the office of the Ethics Commissioner.
Such a statement must be filed even if the Cabinet Minister has already filed a Member’s statement under section 37.
2010, c. 30, s. 51.
52. The disclosure statement must
(1)  state the income, benefits, assets and liabilities of the Cabinet Minister and his or her family members, and their value, including
(a)  the movable and immovable property, situated in Québec and elsewhere, in which the Cabinet Minister or a family member possesses a real right and the immovable property of which the Cabinet Minister or a family member is the lessee, except movable property intended for personal use; however, any property for which a notice of expropriation has been issued must be added to the disclosure statement;
(b)  the value of all income and all benefits that the Cabinet Minister or a family member has received during the 12 months preceding the disclosure statement, and is entitled to receive during the next 12 months for services already provided, other than a dependent child’s income not exceeding $10,000, as well as the nature and source of that income and those benefits;
(c)  information concerning any succession or trust under which the Cabinet Minister or a family member is a beneficiary entitled to a value of $10,000 or more;
(d)  the name, occupation and address of any person, other than a financial institution or a family member, who owes money to the Cabinet Minister or a family member or to whom the Cabinet Minister or a family member owes money as a result of a loan in excess of $3,000, and the balance owing if in excess of $10,000;
(e)  the amount of any other debt or surety bond, except
i.  a debt or surety bond of $10,000 or less;
ii.  a debt on movable property intended for personal use; or
iii.  the balance on a credit card;
(2)  state the nature of any professional, commercial or industrial activity engaged in by the Cabinet Minister during the 12 months preceding his or her swearing in and state the name of the employer or enterprise on whose behalf the activity was engaged in or the fact that the activity was engaged in on the Cabinet Minister’s own account;
(3)  state the nature of any professional, commercial or industrial activity engaged in by a family member of the Cabinet Minister during the 12 months preceding the disclosure statement, other than a dependent child’s employment that generated income not exceeding $10,000, and state the name of the employer or enterprise on whose behalf the activity was engaged in or the fact that the activity was engaged in on the family member’s own account;
(4)  state all benefits that the Cabinet Minister has received during the 12 months preceding his or her swearing in, and is entitled to receive subsequently, from a contract entered into with the Government or a department or public body before his or her swearing in, other than a reimbursement or indemnity described in subparagraph 2 of the second paragraph of section 18 or a contract described in subparagraph 3 of that paragraph, and describe the subject-matter, value and nature of each such contract;
(5)  state all benefits that a family member of the Cabinet Minister has received during the 12 months preceding the disclosure statement, and is entitled to receive during the next 12 months, from a contract with the Government or a department or public body, other than a reimbursement or indemnity described in subparagraph 2 of the second paragraph of section 18 or a contract described in subparagraph 3 of that paragraph, and describe the subject-matter, value and nature of each such contract;
(6)  state the name of any enterprise whose securities are listed on an exchange or for whose securities there is a published market and in which the Cabinet Minister or a family member has an interest, including shares, stocks or pecuniary benefits, and specify the nature and value of that interest;
(7)  state the name of any enterprise, other than an enterprise described in paragraph 6, in which the Cabinet Minister or a family member has an interest, including shares, stocks or pecuniary benefits, specify the nature and value of that interest, and include any of the following information about any such enterprise that the Cabinet Minister is able to obtain by making reasonable inquiries:
(a)  the enterprise’s activities and sources of income;
(b)  the ties that may exist between the enterprise and the Government, a department or a public body;
(c)  the name and address of the persons who have interests in the enterprise; and
(d)  the names of any legal persons related to the enterprise;
(8)  list all legal persons, associations and partnerships of which the Cabinet Minister has been a director, an officer or a partner, including a general or special partner, during the 12 months preceding his or her swearing in;
(9)  list all legal persons, associations and partnerships of which a family member of the Cabinet Minister has been a director, an officer or a partner, including a general or special partner, during the 12 months preceding the disclosure statement;
(10)  provide information concerning proceedings before a court of law or adjudicative body in respect of which the Cabinet Minister is involved as a party;
(11)  disclose any amount received under section 50; and
(12)  include any other information that the Ethics Commissioner may require.
2010, c. 30, s. 52.
53. A Cabinet Minister must inform the Ethics Commissioner in writing of any material change in the information required in his or her disclosure statement within 60 days after the change occurs.
2010, c. 30, s. 53.
54. After reviewing a Cabinet Minister’s disclosure statement filed under section 51, the Ethics Commissioner may request a meeting with the Cabinet Minister to ensure that adequate disclosure has been made and to discuss the Cabinet Minister’s obligations under this Code.
2010, c. 30, s. 54.
55. A disclosure summary is prepared by the Ethics Commissioner for each Cabinet Minister and his or her family members after consulting with the Cabinet Minister. The summary must state the general nature of the interests mentioned in the disclosure statement and be made public by the Ethics Commissioner.
With respect to the Cabinet Minister, the summary must
(1)  state the nature and source of income, benefits, assets and liabilities other than
(a)  an asset or liability with a value of less than $10,000;
(b)  a source of income or benefits if the total of the income and benefits from that source during the 12 months before the relevant date is less than $10,000; and
(c)  any other asset, liability or source of income or benefits that the Ethics Commissioner determines should not be disclosed;
(2)  identify any immovable property among the Cabinet Minister’s assets for which a notice of expropriation has been issued;
(3)  state the name, occupation and address of a person described in subparagraph d of paragraph 1 of section 52, if the Cabinet Minister owes money to that person, and state the balance owing if in excess of $20,000;
(4)  state the nature of any professional, commercial or industrial activity engaged in by the Cabinet Minister during the 12 months preceding his or her swearing in and state the name of the employer or enterprise on whose behalf the activity was engaged in or the fact that the activity was engaged in on the Cabinet Minister’s own account;
(5)  describe the subject-matter and nature of any contract described in paragraph 4 of section 52;
(6)  identify any interest with respect to which a blind trust or a blind management agreement has been created, and state the name and address of the trustee or mandatary and the date of the trust deed or management agreement;
(7)  list the names of any enterprises, legal persons, partnerships and associations mentioned in the Cabinet Minister’s disclosure statement, and state the nature of the interest;
(8)  state the nature and source of any benefit received under section 50; and
(9)  provide any other information that the Ethics Commissioner sees fit to make public.
With respect to each family member of the Cabinet Minister, the summary must
(1)  state the names of the enterprises described in paragraph 6 of section 52, unless the interests in those enterprises have been transferred to a blind trust or a blind management agreement; in the latter case, the summary must state the name and address of the trustee or mandatary and the date of the trust deed or management agreement;
(2)  state the names of the enterprises described in paragraph 7 of section 52;
(3)  provide a list of all immovable property having a value of $10,000 or more in which the family member possesses a real right for purposes other than personal residential use;
(4)  identify any immovable property included in the family member’s assets for which a notice of expropriation has been issued;
(5)  provide information concerning any succession or trust under which the family member is a beneficiary entitled to a value of $10,000 or more;
(6)  state the name, occupation and address of a person described in subparagraph d of paragraph 1 of section 52, if the family member owes money to that person, and state the balance owing if in excess of $20,000; and
(7)  provide any other information that the Ethics Commissioner sees fit to make public.
2010, c. 30, s. 55.
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.
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
87. In response to a request in writing from a Member on any matter respecting the Member’s obligations under this Code, the Ethics Commissioner provides the Member with a written advisory opinion containing reasons and any recommendations the Ethics Commissioner considers appropriate. The advisory opinion must be given within 30 days after the Member’s request, unless otherwise agreed by the Member and the Ethics Commissioner.
An advisory opinion of the Ethics Commissioner is confidential and may only be made public by the Member or with the Member’s written consent, subject to the Ethics Commissioner’s power to conduct an inquiry and report on the facts alleged in or discovered in connection with the Member’s request.
2010, c. 30, s. 87.
88. An act or omission by a Member is deemed not to be a breach of this Code if he or she previously requested an advisory opinion from the Ethics Commissioner and the advisory opinion concluded that the act or omission did not contravene this Code, so long as the facts relevant to the request were fully and accurately presented to the Ethics Commissioner.
2010, c. 30, s. 88.
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.
CHAPTER V
ADVISORY OPINION OF JURISCONSULT
108. The Office of the National Assembly appoints a jurisconsult by a unanimous vote of its members to be responsible for providing advisory opinions on ethics and professional conduct to any Member who requests it. The jurisconsult may not be a Member.
2010, c. 30, s. 108.
109. The advisory opinions provided by the jurisconsult are confidential, unless the Member concerned consents to their being disclosed.
2010, c. 30, s. 109.
110. The advisory opinions provided by the jurisconsult are not binding on the Ethics Commissioner.
The jurisconsult may not provide an advisory opinion to a Member who is under verification or under inquiry until the verification process or inquiry process is completed.
The Ethics Commissioner notifies the jurisconsult of the beginning and termination of a verification or inquiry. Such a notification is confidential.
2010, c. 30, s. 110.
111. The Office of the National Assembly determines, if need be, the remuneration, employment benefits and other conditions of employment of the jurisconsult and of the personnel the jurisconsult requires.
Sections 69 and 70 and the first paragraph of section 71 apply, with the necessary modifications, to the jurisconsult.
2010, c. 30, s. 111.
112. The jurisconsult is appointed for a term of five years or less. On the expiry of the term, the jurisconsult remains in office until reappointed or replaced.
2010, c. 30, s. 112.
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.