By John Swartz
Ward 3 Councillor Jay Fallis Seeks Judicial Review of the Integrity Commissioner’s Finding and City Council’s Decision to Issue Punishment for Seeking Legal Advice
On October 22, Ward 3 Councillor Jay Fallis filed for judicial review against the City’s integrity commissioner, Principles Integrity, and the City of Orillia. The integrity commissioner found that Councillor Fallis violated the Code of Conduct when he sought independent legal advice in relation to concerns he had with City Council.
As a result of the finding of the integrity commissioner, City Council made the decision to suspend Councillor Fallis’ pay for 45 days.
Councillor Fallis sought legal advice so that he could properly understand the implications of a decision, made in closed session, with respect to a request for proposals for the Waterfront Redevelopment Project. Councillor Fallis was acting in a conscientious and diligent manner to serve the interests of his constituents.
Councillor Fallis is being represented by Wade Poziomka and Ashley Wilson, legal counsel from Ross & McBride LLP.
“Councillor Fallis took certain steps to address a concern he had and was guided by the best interests of his constituents” said Poziomka. “Legal advice is protected by lawyer-client privilege. Any information relayed by Councillor Fallis to a lawyer in the ambit of this client-solicitor relationship cannot be disclosed by the lawyer. In my view, it is not in the interests of the citizens of Orillia to prevent a City Councillor from obtaining legal advice. Situations will arise where a Councillor disagrees with the City Solicitor, or questions the legality of decisions of Council. Punishing Councillor Fallis for seeking an understanding of the law at any point is problematic in my view. We will not have further comment until the Divisional Court has reviewed the decision of both Principles Integrity and the City of Orillia in this matter”.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)