Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act

Link to law: http://nslegislature.ca/legc/statutes/membrpub.htm
Published: 2016-01-05

Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act

CHAPTER 4 OF THE ACTS OF 1991

amended 1992, c. 38; 2000, c. 36; 2006, c. 34; 2007, c. 1, ss. 1-8;
2007, c. 9, s. 29; 2009, c. 19; 2010, c. 2, ss. 117, 118;
2010, c. 35, s. 40; 2011, c. 5, ss. 370, 371
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An Act to Regulate Conduct in Order to
Avoid Conflict of Interest in Government
by Members and Government Employees
Through Full and Open Disclosure

Short title
1 This Act may be cited as the Members and Public Employees Disclosure Act. 1991, c. 4, s. 1.
2 repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.

Interpretation of Act

3 In this Act,
(a) "department" means any department, board, commission, foundation, agency, association or other body of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, all the members of which, or all the members of the board of management or board of directors of which,

(i) are appointed by an Act of the Legislature or by order of the Governor in Council, or (ii) if not so appointed, in the discharge of their duties are public officers or servants of Her Majesty in right of the Province, or for the proper discharge of their duties are, directly or indirectly, responsible to Her Majesty in right of the Province;

(b) "dependent child" means a child who is under the age of majority or, although over the age of majority, unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from the charge of the parents or provide himself with reasonable needs and includes a child twenty-four years of age or younger who is attending a post-secondary educational institution;
(c) "designated person" means a person designated pursuant to this Act;
(d) "electoral district association" means an electoral district association endorsed by the leader of a registered party or by an independent member or candidate who is supported by the association and includes a trust established for or a fund established to further the goals of such an association;
(e) "individual or organization" means an individual, partnership, organization, or corporation, or subsidiary of a corporation, and, for greater certainty, includes a union;
(f) "member" means a member of the Assembly, including a member of the Executive Council, and includes the leader of a registered party whether or not the leader has been elected to the Assembly or appointed to the Executive Council and the leader of a political party listed in the Schedule to this Act and, for the purpose of the Schedule, the designated person may add to the list in the Schedule the name of any party that, in the opinion of the designated person, has the avowed purpose of seeking election of its members to the Assembly;
(fa) "Ministerial Code of Conduct" means the code of conduct for members of the Executive Council set out in Schedule B to this Act;
(g) "payment" includes remuneration, reimbursement for expenses, a loan, advance, deposit, contribution or, in the case of a gift, a gift in excess of two hundred and fifty dollars;
(h) "public employee" means a person employed by a department and includes a member of the board of directors or the board of management of a department;
(i) "registered party" means a registered party as defined in the Elections Act and, except in Sections 14A to 14F and Part IIA, includes a trust established for or a fund established to further the goals of such a party;
(j) "spouse" means a person married to another person and, for the purpose of this Act, includes persons who, not being married to each other, live together as if spouses and have done so for at least one year. 1991, c. 4, s. 3; 2000, c. 36, s. 1; 2006, c. 34, s. 1; 2007, c. 1, s. 1; 2011, c. 5, s. 371.
4 to 7 repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.
7A repealed 2006, c. 34, s. 2.
8 to 21C repealed 2011, c. 5, s. 370.
22 to 25A repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.

PART VGENERAL

NOTE - Subsection 40(2) of Chapter 35 of the Acts of 2010, the Conflict of Interest Act, which was proclaimed effective March 29, 2011 provides as follows:
(2) Part V of the former Act does not apply to a member or public employee as defined by the former Act, or to a former member or former public employee.

Designated person

26 The Governor in Council in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia shall designate a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia or a retired or supernumerary judge of the Supreme Court to be the designated person for the purpose of this Act. 1991, c. 4, s. 26; 2000, c. 36, s. 5.

Public Inquiries Act

27 For the purposes of exercising jurisdiction pursuant to this Act, the designated person has all the powers, privileges and immunities of a commissioner appointed pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act and the designated person may establish rules of procedure for the purpose of this Act. 1991, c. 4, s. 27.

Title of designated person

27A (1) The designated person for the purpose of this Act shall be known as the "Conflict of Interest Commissioner".
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the Chief Electoral Officer where the Chief Electoral Officer is the designated person for the purpose of Part II. 1992, c. 38, s. 4.
27B repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.

Inquiry by designated person

28 (1) Upon the application of a person who states under oath that that person has reasonable and probable grounds to believe a member, an electoral district association, registered party or public employee is in contravention of this Act or the regulations and who produces sufficient evidence in support of the allegation to satisfy the designated person that there is a reasonable probability that the contravention has occurred, the designated person shall inquire into the allegation.
(2) The designated person may inquire into a possible contravention of the Act or the regulations where evidence of an essential element of the possible contravention can be found in information disclosed to the designated person but which is not available to be examined by the public pursuant to this Act.
(2A) The designated person shall inquire into a complaint or answer a question referred to the designated person pursuant to the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
(3) The designated person may engage the services of any person necessary to assist with the duties of the designated person pursuant to this Section.
(4) The designated person has jurisdiction to inquire into actions or omissions by a former member or former public employee if the application or inquiry by the designated person commences within two years after the former member or former public employee ceased to be a member or public employee.
(5) Subsection (4) applies to a member or public employee who ceases to be a member or public employee after the coming into force of subsection (4). 1991, c. 4, s. 28; 1992, c. 38, s. 5; 2000, c. 36, s. 3; 2011, c. 5, s. 371.

Powers of designated person

29 (1) Where the designated person conducts an inquiry pursuant to this Act, the designated person may
(a) determine that there has been no contravention of this Act, the regulations or the Ministerial Code of Conduct;
(b) determine that there has been a contravention of this Act, the regulations or the Ministerial Code of Conduct and direct the member, electoral district association, registered party or public employee to, where applicable,

(i) file or amend a disclosure statement within the time prescibed [prescribed] by the order, (ii) discontinue association with a contract or agreement in which the member is prohibited from participating,
(iii) return any gain realized in respect of promoting a bill, resolution, matter or thing submitted or intended to be submitted to the House of Assembly, a committee of the House of Assembly, the Executive Council or a committee of the Executive Council,
(iv) return any personal benefit improperly obtained by the member,
(v) cease any contravention of the Ministerial Code of Conduct;

(c) refer the matter to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia for a determination;
(d) fine the person or electoral district association or registered party that contravened this Act, the regulations or the Ministerial Code of Conduct in an amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars; or
(e) fine an officer of an electoral district association or registered party who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the contravention of this Act or the regulations in an amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars.
(2) A copy of the decision of the designated person at an inquiry shall be filed with the Prothonotary at Halifax and, where the inquiry is with respect to the Ministerial Code of Conduct, shall also be delivered to the President of the Executive Council.
(3) A member, electoral district association, registered party or public employee who has been ordered to comply with the requirement referred to in clause (b) of subsection (1) shall file or amend the disclosure statement.
(4) The designated person may refer to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia the failure of a member, electoral district association, registered party or public employee to comply with the requirement referred to in clause (b) of subsection (1) or with subsection (3).
(5) Where the designated person refers a matter to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia,
(a) the designated person shall

(i) instruct counsel to commence an application in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, and (ii) determine the parties to the application, and where the designated person determines that an electoral district association or registered party is a party, the designated person may determine what officers of the electoral district association or registered party are parties to the application;

(b) the designated person shall take no further part in the proceedings, as a witness or otherwise; and
(c) the judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia dealing with the application shall

(i) hear the evidence and argument presented by the parties, and (ii) determine on the basis of the evidence presented whether a contravention of this Act, the regulations or the Ministerial Code of Conduct or a direction of the designated person has occurred.

(6) Where the judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia determines that a contravention of this Act, the regulations or the Ministerial Code of Conduct or a direction of the designated person has occurred, the judge may
(a) order the filing or amendment of a disclosure statement;
(b) order a member or public employee to discontinue association with a contract or agreement in which the member or public employee is prohibited from participating;
(c) order a person to return any gain realized in respect of promoting a bill, resolution, matter or thing submitted or intended to be submitted to the Assembly, a committee of the Assembly, the Executive Council or a committee of the Executive Council;
(d) order a member or public employee to return any personal benefit improperly obtained by the member or public employee;
(e) fine the person or electoral district association or registered party that contravened this Act, the regulations or the Ministerial Code of Conduct or a direction of the designated person in an amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars;
(f) fine an officer of an electoral district association or registered party who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the contravention of this Act or the regulations or a direction of the designated person in an amount not exceeding ten thousand dollars;
(g) suspend a member or public employee on such terms and conditions as the judge prescribes;
(h) declare that a member ceases to be a member of the Executive Council; or
(i) declare vacant the seat of a member,
or any combination thereof.
(7) Where the judge declares vacant the seat of a member, the seat of that member is and is deemed to be vacant upon the expiration of thirty days from the making of the order or upon the determination of any appeal of the matter, whichever is later, and the seat remains vacant until an election is held in the electoral district of the member. 1991, c. 4, s. 29; 2000, c. 36, ss. 4, 5; 2011, c. 5, s. 371.

Appeal

30 (1) A finding, direction, determination or order of the designated person or a judge made pursuant to Section 29 may be appealed to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal by the person affected within thirty days of the making of the finding, direction, determination or order.
(2) In subsection (1), "person affected" includes the person who initiated the request for an inquiry.
(3) Where an appeal has been filed as provided by law, a judge of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal may, upon application by the person appealing, stay the order from which the appeal has been taken pending the determination of the appeal. 1991, c. 4, s. 30; 2000, c. 36, s. 5.

Frivolous or vexatious allegation

31 Where the designated person determines that an allegation of a contravention of this Act is frivolous or vexatious, the designated person shall dismiss the matter and may order the person who made the allegation to pay costs or damages, or both, to the member, electoral district association, registered party or public employee, including reimbursement of the actual expenses of the member, electoral district association, registered party or public employee incurred in responding to the allegation, and grant such other relief as the designated person may determine. 1991, c. 4, s. 31; 2011, c. 5, s. 371.

Regulations

32 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing forms to be used for the purpose of this Act;
(b) prescribing fees for the purpose of this Act;
(c) defining any word or expression used and not defined in this Act;
(d) respecting any matter necessary or advisable to effectively carry out the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) shall be regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act. 1991, c. 4, s. 32.
32A and 33 repealed 2011, c. 5, s. 370.
34 repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.
35 repealed 2011, c. 5, s. 370.

PART VIIIEFFECTIVE DATE

Effective date

36 This Act comes into force upon Royal Assent or upon the thirtieth day of June, 1991, whichever is later. 1991, c. 4, s. 36.
Schedule A repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.
Schedule B repealed 2010, c. 35, s. 40.
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