• Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mr. Gilles LeVasseur

    Mayor Jim Watson and Alta Vista Ward Councillor Peter Hume, today honoured Mr. Gilles LeVasseur with the Mayor’s City Builder Award recognizing his many philanthropic contributions to the City of Ottawa including the work he has done for Ontario’s Francophone community through his writings and volunteer work.

    Gilles LeVasseur grew up in Ottawa’s Alta Vista area, a community with a significant number of Francophone residents. As a Francophone himself, he recognized the importance of defending, maintaining, and ensuring the quality of French language within our city.

    Through his various professional and volunteer endeavours, Gilles LeVasseur has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments.

    As a lawyer and university professor of law, management and economics, Mr. LeVasseur is actively involved in files related to constitutional language rights in Canada. He is a member of both the Ontario and Quebec Bar Associations and has numerous university degrees. Mr. LeVasseur is President of the Conseil de la coopération de l’Ontario and of the Regroupement des organismes du patrimoine franco-ontarien. He has published eight books of which three directly address the situation of Francophones in Ontario and Canada. For over 25 years, he has been an active member of key organizations working to promote the French language in Ontario and Canada. He received the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for his contributions to the preservation of Franco-Ontarian heritage and the Queen’s Jubilee medal for his contributions to the Canadian Francophonie. He was also awarded the Séraphin Marion award for his outstanding contribution to the development of Francophones outside Quebec.

    Through his passion and dedication, Gilles LeVasseur has been instrumental, not only for the recognition of French language rights locally, but for his role provincially in safeguarding our Franco-Ontarian heritage.


  • Integrity Commissioner recommends Code of Conduct, Expense Policy for Council

    Ottawa – The City of Ottawa’s Integrity Commissioner, Mr. Robert Marleau, has presented his recommendations for the final major pieces of City Council’s Accountability Framework. The package includes a Code of Conduct for Members of Council, a Gifts Registry, a Council Expense Policy and Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy.

    As part of the development of the draft Code of Conduct and companion policies, Mr. Marleau consulted with every Member of Council and with other integrity officials and experts. He also worked closely with the City Clerk and Solicitor and his staff in preparation of these proposals for the Joint Governance Renewal and Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting of April 25, 2013.

    “The City of Ottawa is in the enviable position of putting in place an ethical framework that isn’t the result of scandal,” said Mr. Marleau. “The draft Code of Conduct and companion policies are largely based on what City Council already does, along with best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions. All of the pieces have been drafted to work together to enhance transparency and public trust.”

    Members of Council have been disclosing their expenses monthly since January 2011 and have approved specific guidelines for this disclosure including the level of detail that must be provided for certain expenses. City Council established the Lobbyist Registry and created the office of Integrity Commissioner on July 11, 2012. At that time, the Integrity Commissioner was tasked with developing the rest of the Accountability Framework.

    The four recommended policies are:

    Code of Conduct for Members of Council: The recommended provisions of the Code are based on the view that elected officials make decisions with an open mind, with concern for the public good and not personal benefit, and without giving preferential treatment to family, friends and supporters. The Code emphasizes that elected officials should be seen to be open about the manner in which they perform their role as Members of Council, with proactive disclosure being an important tool to increase public trust. The proposed Code will also apply to citizen members of the Transit Commission and Built Heritage Sub-Committee with respect to City business.

    Gifts Registry: It is recommended that Members disclose all gifts, benefits and hospitality received which individually exceed $200 from one source in a calendar year. Event tickets of a value exceeding $30 would also be disclosed, listing who attended with the Member or, if donated, to whom or to what organization the ticket was donated. Disclosure would be listed quarterly on Ottawa.ca.

    Council Expense Policy: The proposed Council Expense Policy guides how Members of Council may spend their Constituency Services Budgets. Most of the recommendations reflect current practices and reinforce the existing rules and restrictions surrounding Corporate/Purchasing Cards, as well as a Member’s personal liability with respect to any budget overages and strengthens accounting practices based on audits in other jurisdictions. New elements recommended include adding public disclosure for all City-related business travel, establishing a 3.5% threshold for donations and prohibiting contributions to other City-funded programs and services except by Council motion.

    Community, Fundraising and Special Events Policy: These recommendations create a new, formal policy to govern Member events and Members’ benevolent (charitable) activities. The proposals codify current accounting practices for specific, sponsored events and prohibit the solicitation or acceptance of donations or sponsorships from a lobbyist, or their clients or employees of the client, with active registrations in the Lobbyist Registry without pre-approval from the Integrity Commissioner. The proposals establish procedures surrounding third-party organized charitable events sponsored by a Member, and provide additional guidelines for municipal election years, while requiring the annual disclosure of sponsorships and expenses related to some specific Member-organized events.

    “These are foundation policies,” emphasized Mr. Marleau. “They will be reviewed and refined on a continuous basis, along with all of the other governance practices in the City of Ottawa. A strong ethical framework is a living thing.”

    The Code of Conduct report includes the complaint process established by the Integrity Commissioner and there will be no fee charged for making a complaint. Staff is recommending the Code of Conduct and companion policies take effect on July 1, 2013 to allow for an orderly transition.

    The Joint Meeting of the Governance Renewal and the Finance and Economic Development Committee will consider the Integrity Commissioner’s proposal beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2013 in the Council Chambers. The Committee’s recommendations are expected to be considered by City Council at their May 8, 2013 meeting.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – local luminary sisters Gay (Grace) Cook and Grete (Marguerite) Hale

    Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Katherine Hobbs today honoured local luminary sisters Gay (Grace) Cook and Grete (Marguerite) Hale with the Mayor’s City Builder Award for their endeavours in business, education, philanthropy and volunteerism, and for their many contributions to the City of Ottawa.
    Mrs. Cook is a culinary expert and “matriarch of the kitchen” who is well known for her work as a former food editor at the Ottawa Sun and as a weekly food columnist with the Ottawa Citizen. She received the Sandy Sanderson Award recognizing outstanding food journalists and is also known for her freelance writing for a number of other publications including Fifty-Five Plus and Food & Leisure Magazine.

    Mrs. Cook is on the Board of Governors of the National Capital Sommelier Guild and is also a member of Cuisine Canada. She is an honorary member of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks and is the well-known author of Mrs. Cook’s Kitchen, Basics and Beyond.

    Mrs. Cook graduated in 1953 from the first class of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Administration Program at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto and parlayed her talents into work throughout Europe, South America, and the United States. She also received an Ottawa Community Builder of the Year Award from the United Way.

    Mrs. Hale, a prominent philanthropist and businesswoman in Ottawa, was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006 in recognition of her lifetime of volunteerism. She became Chairman Emeritus of the family business, Morrison Lamothe Inc., a national frozen food company headquartered in Toronto in 2005, and has served on numerous national, corporate, and provincial boards.

    Mrs. Hale is well known for her work as a volunteer with dozens of Ottawa organizations, including as President of Beechwood Cemetery and as a founding member on the board of the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

    Mrs. Hale has been described as one of Ottawa’s most active citizens. Her numerous awards and recognition include: Senator in the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, Woman of Distinction – Mayor of Ottawa’s Award for Community Service, the Ottawa-Carleton Philanthropy Award, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Lifetime Achievement Category, the YM-YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award, Community Builder of the Year Award, Scouts Canada Foundation National Salute Award and honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. In 2012 she was presented with the inaugural CUAA Alumni Humanitarian Award for her significant contributions to society and outstanding volunteer community service.