Public Inquiries Act, 2009, S.O. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6

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Public Inquiries Act, 2009

S.o. 2009, chapter 33
Schedule 6

Consolidation Period: From July 1, 2019 to the e-Laws currency date.

Last amendment: 2019, c. 7, Sched. 17, s. 147.

CONTENTS

Purpose and Interpretation

Purpose

1 The purpose of this Act is to establish an effective and accountable process for public inquiries where there is a public interest to,

(a) independently inquire into facts or matters;

(b) make recommendations regarding those facts or matters. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 1.

Definitions

2 In this Act,

“commission” means a commission, including a joint commission, established under section 3; (“commission”)

“commissioner” means a commissioner appointed under section 3; (“commissaire”)

“Minister” means the Attorney General or such other Minister as may be made responsible for a public inquiry in the order under section 3; (“ministre”)

“public inquiry” means a public inquiry conducted by a commission under this Act, but does not include an inquiry or other proceeding under section 33 or 34; (“enquête publique”)

“witness” means a person who gives testimony or provides information, a document or thing in a public inquiry. (“témoin”) 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 2.

Establishing a Commission

Commission

3 (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may by order establish a commission to conduct a public inquiry into a matter that the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers to be in the public interest. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 3 (1).

Preliminary recommendations

(2) If there are matters to be determined before a public inquiry is commenced, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, by order, appoint a person to make recommendations on how the public inquiry should be conducted, including the commission’s terms of reference and other matters as may be appropriate. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 3 (2).

Content of order

(3) The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall, in the order establishing a commission,

(a) appoint one or more persons as commissioners and, if more than one commissioner is appointed, assign roles and responsibilities to the commissioners;

(b) set out the terms of reference for the public inquiry;

(c) set out any special provisions respecting the manner in which the public inquiry is to proceed;

(d) fix the date for the delivery of the commission’s report;

(e) provide for any matters required if an agreement is made under section 4 to establish a joint commission; and

(f) if the Attorney General is not to be responsible for the public inquiry, designate the Minister who is to be responsible. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 3 (3).

Resignation

(4) A person appointed under this Act may resign by giving written notice to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 3 (4).

Joint commission

4 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may enter into an agreement with the governments of one or more other jurisdictions about jointly establishing a commission and how the public inquiry is to be conducted by the joint commission. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 4.

Duties and Powers of a Commission

Duties of commission

5 A commission shall,

(a) conduct its public inquiry faithfully, honestly and impartially in accordance with its terms of reference;

(b) ensure that its public inquiry is conducted effectively, expeditiously, and in accordance with the principle of proportionality; and

(c) ensure that it is financially responsible and operates within its budget. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 5.

Commission activities

6 Subject to the order establishing it, a commission may engage in any activity appropriate to fulfilling its duties, including,

(a) conducting research and collecting information, including conducting interviews and undertaking surveys;

(b) consulting, in private or in public, with persons or groups, including consulting prior to making its rules or determining who may participate in the public inquiry;

(c) consulting with the general public;

(d) receiving oral and written submissions; and

(e) holding public hearings. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 6.

Power to make rules

7 (1) Subject to this Act and the order establishing it, a commission has the power to control its own processes and may make rules governing its practice and procedure. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 7 (1).

Examples of rules

(2) As examples of matters that may be dealt with in rules made under subsection (1), a commission may make rules with respect to the following:

1. The scheduling of activities for the conduct of the public inquiry, including dividing the public inquiry into phases or parts.

2. Processes for determining who may participate in the public inquiry and the scope of any participation in the public inquiry.

3. Time limits applicable to any of its proceedings and the extension or abridgement of time limits applicable to any of its proceedings.

4. The service of notices and other documents.

5. Adjournments.

6. The transcription and recording of meetings and hearings.

7. The collection, submission and receipt of information.

8. Processes for determining any privilege claimed in respect of information.

9. Fees and expenses payable to witnesses and participants. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 7 (2).

Rules for different persons or classes of persons

(3) A commission may, for different persons or different classes of persons,

(a) make different rules; and

(b) waive or modify the application of one or more of its rules. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 7 (3).

Rules publicly available

(4) A commission shall ensure that its rules are made available to the public. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 7 (4).

Exemption under Legislation Act, 2006

(5) Part III (Regulations) of the Legislation Act, 2006 does not apply to rules made by a commission. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 7 (5).

Information and Evidence

Admissible information

8 (1) A commission may collect and receive information that it considers relevant and appropriate, whether or not the information would be admissible in a court and in whatever form the information takes, and may accept the information as evidence at the public inquiry. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 8 (1).

Exclusion of information

(2) A commission may exclude information that the commission considers is unduly repetitious or does not meet such standards of proof as are commonly relied on by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 8 (2).

Privilege preserved

(3) Despite subsection (1), no information may be received and accepted by a commission that would be inadmissible in a court by reason of any privilege under the law of evidence. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 8 (3).

Matters to be relied on

9 (1) Subject to section 8, a commission shall, as much as practicable and appropriate, refer to and rely on,

(a) any public transcript or record of any proceeding before any court or statutory tribunal;

(b) any medical, professional, social science and background information related to the subject matter of the public inquiry;

(c) any existing records or reports relevant to the subject matter of the public inquiry;

(d) any agreed statements of facts prepared by commission counsel or the participants;

(e) the testimony of a representative witness of a participant in the public inquiry; and

(f) any other document or information, if referral to and reliance on the document or information would promote the efficient and expeditious conduct of the public inquiry. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 9 (1).

Same

(2) A commission may rely on a record or report in lieu of calling witnesses. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 9 (2).

Reliance on other commissioner’s decision or information

(3) Subject to the order establishing the commission, where more than one commissioner is appointed or a commissioner is replaced, a commissioner may rely on any decision made and information collected or received by any former or current commissioner. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 9 (3).

Power to compel witnesses and disclosure

10 (1) A commission may serve a summons requiring a person to,

(a) attend the public inquiry, in person or by electronic means, to provide testimony on oath or affirmation or in another manner; and

(b) produce for the public inquiry any information, document or thing under the person’s power or control. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 10 (1).

Attendance not necessary

(2) In requiring production under clause (1) (b), the commission may or may not require that a person attend with the information, document or thing. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 10 (2).

Confidential information

(3) Subject to the order establishing it and despite any other Act, a commission may require the provision or production of information that is considered confidential or inadmissible under another Act or a regulation and that information shall be disclosed to the commission for the purposes of the public inquiry. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 10 (3).

Protection of confidential information

(4) A commission may impose conditions on the disclosure of information at a public inquiry to protect the confidentiality of that information. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 10 (4).

Appearance fees and expenses

11 (1) A commission may,

(a) if a person is summoned to appear before the commission at the request of a participant, order the participant to pay appearance fees and expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred by the person summoned, other than fees and expenses incurred by the person in respect of legal representation, advice or services; and

(b) in any case, pay appearance fees and expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred by a person summoned to appear before the commission, other than fees and expenses incurred by the person in respect of legal representation, advice or services. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 11 (1).

Apportioning fees and expenses

(2) A commission may...

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