QUEEN'S PARK, July 26 - - Government Services Minister Gerry Phillips
today announced the appointment of Justice Sidney B. Linden as Ontario's new
Conflict of Interest (COI) Commissioner, July 30, 2007.
The position of Conflict of Interest Commissioner administers the
conflict of interest provisions of the Public Service of Ontario Act 2006
(PSOA), passed by the government in December 2006 and being proclaimed into
law August 20, 2007.
"Justice Linden is a distinguished leader in the administration of
justice," Phillips said. "His appointment reflects the government's deep
commitment to a strong, continuing high standard of integrity for public
As a member of the Bar since 1966, Justice Linden's forty-year career
includes recently serving the people of Ontario as Commissioner of the
In speaking of his new responsibilities, Justice Linden said "Ontario's
public service has an impressive record of excellence, and Ontarians want to
ensure the historical levels of excellence continue. I welcome the opportunity
to play a role in making Ontario even more open, more transparent and more
Minister Phillips expressed thanks to Justices Lloyd W. Houlden Q.C. and
Sydney L. Robbins Q.C. who filled the role of Commissioner under the Public
Service Act before Justice Linden's appointment.
The Conflict of Interest Commissioner provides clarity and guidance to
Ontario government employees about matters of possible conflict. The
Commissioner is also responsible for ensuring consistent conflict of interest
rules for Ontario government employees in about 350 public bodies and to
reinforce the strong ethical culture within the Ontario Public Service.
See also: Backgrounder, Justice Sidney B. Linden
Backgrounder, Public Service of Ontario Act (PSOA)
Backgrounder, COI Commissioner's Responsibilities
Disponible en français www.mgs.gov.on.ca
JUSTICE SIDNEY B. LINDEN
CONFLICT OF INTEREST COMMISSIONER
Justice Sidney B. Linden was born in Toronto and graduated from the
University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts (1961) and Faculty of Law (1964). He
was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1966. While practising mostly criminal and
administrative law, he appeared in all levels of court and represented persons
accused of every type of criminal offence, including defending several murder
trials in Toronto and in other Ontario cities.
Justice Linden has held a variety of challenging positions in the public
and private sector. In 1966-1967, he was the Project Director of the Toronto
Bail Project and General Counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
In 1967-1968, he was the Chair of the Civil Liberties Subsection of the
Canadian Bar Association. He was a founding member of the Criminal Lawyers'
Association and served as Vice-President from 1975-1979. He was also a member
of the Legal Aid Committee of the Law Society during that same period of time.
In 1977-1978, he was the Chair of the 'Delivery of Legal Services'
subcommittee which recommended major reforms to the Legal Aid Plan, most of
which were subsequently implemented, including the experience incentive, the
salaried Duty Counsel Office and the Research Facility.
He was an approved Labour Arbitrator, and acted as Chair on a variety of
Boards of Arbitration throughout Ontario including various public sector
disputes such as hospital and education matters as well as traditional labour
disputes. In 1974-1975 he was special counsel to The Honourable John Munro who
was then the federal Minister of Labour.
In 1978, he was appointed by then Attorney General of Ontario, Roy
McMurtry, as 'Special Counsel'. As Chairman of a 'Working Group for the
Cabinet Committee on Race Relations', he helped to draft the Ontario
Government's "Policy Statement on Race Relations", a copy of which continues
to be displayed in most provincial government offices.
At the request of Attorney General McMurtry, he conducted the research
and was subsequently appointed as the first Police Complaints Commissioner for
Metropolitan Toronto (1980-1985). As Commissioner, he was responsible for
starting up and managing the Agency. In 1985, he helped to establish the
International Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement, and hosted
that Association's first international conference in Toronto. The organization
currently has delegates from all parts of Canada, the United States, the
United Kingdom, Scandinavia and Australia.
From 1985-1987, he was the first Executive Director of the Canadian Auto
Workers (C.A.W.) Prepaid Legal Services Plan. On behalf of the C.A.W. and the
major auto companies (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) he was responsible
for starting up and operating the first privately funded national Prepaid
Legal Service Plan in Canada. This plan continues to operate successfully for
more than 90,000 members of the C.A.W. across the country. It includes staff
offices and lawyers who provide a variety of legal services to its members on
In 1987, he was nominated by then Attorney General Ian Scott, and
subsequently appointed by the request of the Legislature, as Ontario's first
Information and Privacy Commissioner. Once again he was responsible for
starting up the Commissioner's Office and serving as the first Commissioner
until April 1990. During this time, in addition to overall administrative
responsibility for the office, he adjudicated more than 120 appeals. These
published decisions continue to form an important part of the Information and
Privacy jurisprudence in Ontario and Canada.
In April 1990, he was nominated by then Attorney General Ian Scott to be
the first Chief Judge of the newly established Ontario Court of Justice
(Provincial Division). A 1990 amendment to the Courts of Justice Act
reorganized the court to include the former Criminal and Family Divisions of
the Provincial Court, as well as responsibility for the Justices of the Peace
system in Ontario. During his term of office (1990-1999), he was responsible
for many administrative and structural reforms, including signing a Memorandum
of Understanding with the Attorney General which transferred considerable
financial and administrative authority from the Ministry of the Attorney
General to the Chief Judge's office.
In addition to presiding in court, he was responsible for the direction
and supervision of the sittings of the court and the assignment of its
judicial duties. He served as Chair of the Justices of the Peace Review
Council, which deals with complaints against justices of the peace and was the
Co-chair, together with Chief Justice McMurtry, of the newly re-organized
Ontario Judicial Council, which deals with complaints against provincially
He was a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Judges and was also a
member of the Board of Directors of the National Judicial Institute
(1995-1999), the organization that is responsible for developing judicial
education programs for both federally and provincially appointed judges across
In 1997, Justice Linden was awarded the Canadian Institute for the
Administration of Justice, 'Justice Award'. This award is presented every
second year as a mark of distinction and exceptional achievement to a person
who, in the opinion of a panel of independent judges, has shown distinctive
leadership in the administration of justice in Canada.
In January 1999, Justice Linden was appointed to be the Chair of the
Transitional Board of Legal Aid Ontario and in December 1999, he became Chair
of the first Board of Directors of Legal Aid Ontario. Under his direction,
Legal Aid Ontario moved considerably toward bringing the former Ontario Legal
Aid Plan and the Community Clinic Program, each of which were governed
separately by the Law Society of Upper Canada, into a cohesive entity with the
common purpose of providing legal services to low-income Ontarians. At the
conclusion of his term as Chair, Legal Aid Ontario established an award in his
honour, which annually recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a
long-standing commitment to Legal Aid Ontario's values.
In November 2003, Attorney General Michael Bryant nominated Justice
Linden to be Commissioner of the Ipperwash Inquiry. The inquiry had a dual
mandate of investigating the events surrounding the death of Dudley George and
recommending ways to avoid future violence in similar circumstances.
Disponible en français www.mgs.gov.on.ca
CONFLICT OF INTEREST (COI) COMMISSIONER
Accountable to the Minister of Government Services, the Conflict of
Interest Commissioner will be responsible for:
- Reviewing conflict of interest rules submitted by the public bodies
governed by the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 (PSOA) for
consistency with the regulation governing ministry staff, and
approving public bodies' rules if, in the Commissioner's opinion, the
proposed rules establish a degree of ethical conduct that is at least
equivalent to the degree of ethical conduct established for ministry
staff, having regard to the powers, duties and functions of the
- If the regulation governing ministry staff is amended, determining
whether to require public bodies to amend their rules accordingly.
- Making determinations regarding compliance with the in-service
conflict of interest rules for cases referred by Deputy Ministers or
Chairs of public bodies.
- Making determinations regarding post-service conflict of interest
obligations for former public servants who worked in a public body,
or as a Deputy Minister, or as Secretary of the Cabinet.
- Making determinations regarding the application of the PSOA's
political activity provisions in cases referred by Deputy Ministers
or Chairs of public bodies.
- Maintaining a web-based record of approved conflict of interest rules
for public bodies.
- Fulfilling any other responsibilities as may be assigned by the PSOA
or any other Act.
- Providing an annual report to the Minister of Government Services on
the work of the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.
- Providing ongoing leadership for the Office of the Conflict of
The Conflict of Interest Commissioner is one of two Commissioners who
have responsibilities under the PSOA: the other position is that of the
Integrity Commissioner, appointed under the Members' Integrity Act
(currently Justice Coulter Osborne).
Disponible en français