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Richmond Hill names new integrity commissioner

2 predecessors were fired in 2 years.
May 11, 2021
Yoyo Yan

Richmond Hill council has appointed Charles A. Harnick Q.C., of ADR Chambers Inc., as its new integrity commissioner effective May 12.

The replacement was announced two months after the city council voted to terminate the contract with Investigation Counsel, a Toronto-based law firm, in March.

Harnick will replace Norman J. Groot, who represented Investigation Counsel to advise council on ethical issues and investigate breaches of the code of conduct.

Groot was appointed to the position in December 2019, following the dismissal of his predecessor Deborah Anschell, representing ADR Chambers Inc.

The integrity commissioner's duties include providing impartial, third-party, professional advice to the city council and responding to any compliance issues and matters relating to ethical responsibilities and obligations under the Council Code of Conduct.

Harnick is a mediator, arbitrator and investigator with ADR Chambers. He served as Attorney General of Ontario from 1995 to 1999 and Minister Responsible for Native Affairs. He was an elected member of the Ontario Legislature from 1990 to 1999. In 1991, Harnick was certified as a specialist in civil litigation. He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in 1992, and in 2005, he was awarded the Law Society Medal.

Harnick currently also serves as integrity commissioner for the municipality of Leamington, city of Kawartha Lakes, Haldimand county, township of Larder Lake and the county of Dufferin.

Richmond Hill council considered the applications for the appointment during the closed session portion of special council meetings held on April 19 and 21, 2021, and formally appointed the integrity commissioner during a special council meeting on May 5, 2021, according to a public service announcement.

Under the Municipal Act of 2001, all municipalities are required to appoint an integrity commissioner to promote accountability and transparency between members of council and the public.

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