Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake, K.C., today filed a report with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario regarding Lise Vaugeois, Member of Provincial Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North. The report is in response to an affidavit submitted by Lorne Coe, Member of Provincial Parliament for Whitby, on January 18, 2023, in which he requested an opinion under section 30 of the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994.
Mr. Coe alleged that Ms. Vaugeois breached Ontario parliamentary convention by using legislative and constituency resources for partisan purposes when she produced and circulated an email newsletter that encouraged individuals to donate to and seek membership in the Ontario New Democratic Party. The newsletter allegedly featured the Legislative Assembly Coat of Arms and included contact information for Ms. Vaugeois’ Queen’s Park and constituency offices.
After conducting an inquiry, the Commissioner determined the newsletter was paid for by the local NDP riding association and not from Ms. Vaugeois’ legislative budget. In addition, the newsletter was created by a volunteer for the riding association, who is also a staffer for Ms. Vaugeois’ constituency office. Excluding a few minor instances, the staffer created the newsletter in their own time and using a personal laptop.
The Commissioner concluded that the evidence did not establish that Ms. Vaugeois breached parliamentary convention and she assured him the minor use of constituency office resources would be addressed along with the use of either the Legislative Assembly or Province of Ontario coat of arms on the riding association newsletter.
The full report can be found online, under MPP Integrity, Commissioner’s Reports.
About the OIC
The Office has seven mandates under five pieces of legislation:
- Members’ Integrity, providing confidential conflict of interest advice to MPPs and conducting inquiries into alleged breaches;
- Ministers’ Staff Ethical Conduct, providing conflict of interest advice and direction to public servants in ministers’ offices;
- Lobbyists Registration, operating Ontario’s lobbyist registry and conducting investigations into potential non-compliance;
- Public Sector Ethics, providing conflict of interest advice and direction to Ethics Executives in ministries and public bodies;
- Disclosure of Wrongdoing, receiving whistleblowing disclosures from current and former members of the Ontario Public Service; and,
- Expenses Review:
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of Cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, Opposition leaders, and their staff; and,
- Reviewing the travel, meal and hospitality expenses of selected provincial agencies.
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