The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will soon rescind its Code of Ethics Policy and replace it with a new Elected Official Code of Conduct Policy.
The existing Code of Ethics Policy was adopted by the regional district board in 2005 and has since undergone two administrative reviews.
In 2016, the Working Group on Responsible Conduct, a provincial body, was formed to better understand issues related to responsible conduct. In September 2017, Union of B.C. Municipalities members endorsed the working group’s policy report.
In January 2023, members of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen expressed interest in pursuing a regional code of conduct policy.
The draft code of conduct policy is a 19-page document that would apply to all members of the board in their regional district capacity.
The draft was introduced on Aug. 17, with the adoption of the new policy planned for Sept. 7.
“Responsible conduct is essential to providing good governance,” the document states.
“Members recognize that responsible conduct is based upon the foundational principles of integrity, accountability, leadership, respect, openness and collaboration.”
The principles in the document are integrity, accountability, leadership, respect, openness and collaboration.
The document includes how board members conduct themselves with others, handling conflicts of interest, interacting with regional district staff, conduct at meetings and other points of conduct.
There are also protocols in place for handling and investigating complaints.
Communities within the regional district have been addressing code of conduct issues.
In 2021, the municipality of Summerland took on a code of ethics for all staff working at the municipality. In 2023, the municipality also amended its council procedure bylaw with rules for decorum and conduct at council meetings. These rules include conduct for those in attendance at council meetings.
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