Ottawa, March 31, 2021
Canada's Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion, along with his counterpart, Lobbying Commissioner Nancy Bélanger, participated in a panel discussion organized by members of the European Parliament on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. They were joined by Lisa Gamgani, Secretary General for the French High Authority for Transparency in Public Life and Melanie Rushworth, Director of Communications, Outreach, and Planning for the Canadian Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, in an open conversation about democratic systems that support transparency and the integrity of public officials in their respective countries. The webinar recording is now available online.
During the nearly two-hour discussion, Commissioner Dion along with other panellists responded to questions about the merits of Canada's conflict of interest regime and rules relating to outside activities, post-employment and sanctions. Different approaches to ensure citizens can understand and find critical information about their elected officials in as open and transparent a manner as possible were discussed, as were various compliance mechanisms such as investigative powers and the required independence of these types of positions. The purpose of this panel discussion was for members of the European Parliament to gain an understanding of models used in other countries in order to inform their work on the possibility of implementing a “single EU ethics body."
QUOTES FROM COMMISSIONER DION
“I am pleased and honoured to have participated in an interesting and fruitful discussion alongside my Canadian and international counterparts. I believe that sharing best practices and understanding different government ethics regimes will inevitably contribute to stronger government institutions."
“The Canadian Ethics Commissioner is an officer of Parliament who operates independently of the government of the day. My independent status, along with the ability to conduct investigations independently, is what makes the Canadian conflict of interest regime reliable."
Commissioner Dion received an invitation from members of the European Parliament to participate in the publicly accessible online seminar, “What Did Canada and France Do to Fix Their Lobbying Problem?" Watch the full discussion on YouTube.
The Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner works with counterparts across Canada and around the world. In March 2018, Commissioner Mario Dion signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commissioner of Lobbying, Nancy Bélanger. The panel discussion enabled them to build on previous educational activities they have undertaken together.
Contrasts between the Conflict of Interest Act, which prohibits reporting public office holders from engaging in outside employment, and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, which does not include a similar restriction, were discussed.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner releases quarterly statistical reports to support transparency, align its activities with its mission, assess its workload and identify trends.
The Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner was created under the Federal Accountability Act. The Commissioner applies the Conflict of Interest Act for public office holders and the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons.
- 30 -
For more information, please email email@example.com.