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Overview for Prospective MLAs

If you are considering running to become a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), below is a summary of the responsibilities of a member under the Conflict of Interest Act R.S.P.E.I. 1988 Cap C-17.1 and the resources available through the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

 

Disclosure of your personal finances

Every member must file a private disclosure statement with the Commissioner within 60 days of being elected. This disclosure captures information about a member's financial, legal, business, and community status for the period twelve months before their election, and looking twelve months into the future. Specifically, the disclosure looks at:

 

  • Sources and amounts of income;
  • Descriptions and values of assets, including all investments and properties owned;
  • Details about ownership of companies;
  • Details of any contracts with the government of P.E.I.;
  • Descriptions and values of liabilities, including mortgages and credit cards;
  • Description of directorships and volunteer positions held;
  • Details of pension entitlements;
  • Details of all unpaid taxes;
  • Details about ongoing lawsuits and any ongoing support obligations;
  • Details of any guarantees given or loans co-signed.
The Private Disclosure Forms members are required to fill in are available for review on the Legislative Assembly's website.


What about my spouse and/or children?

Under the Conflict of Interest Act, everyone who is part of a member's immediate household - a spouse/partner, minor children, or adult children residing with you and dependent upon you - are required to disclose the same level of information as is required of a member (and listed above).

Once the full private disclosure has been filed, members are required to meet with the Commissioner to review their filing and find out more about the Commissioner's work. Spouses/partners are welcome to attend the meeting with the member to ask questions and find out more about how the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner is there to help.

What information is made public?

Part of the Commissioner's job is to make public selected details of a member’s disclosure statement, along with selected details of any spouse/partner’s or children's statements. These public statements never include dollar values, but do include:
  • All sources of income exceeding $5,000 for the year;
  • All assets and liabilities valued at $5,000 or more (with some exceptions). This includes ownership interest in a business and any contracts with the P.E.I. government;
  • Details of any board or volunteer positions you hold
Public disclosures for current elected members are posted on the Legislative Assembly's website and are available to the public.

Standards of behaviour

Under the Conflict of Interest Act, members are expected to perform their duties of office and arrange their private affairs in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity of each member, maintains the Legislative Assembly’s dignity and justifies the respect in which society holds the Assembly and its members.

Specifically, a member must never use their office to influence or to seek to influence a decision to be made by another person so as to further the member’s private interest or improperly to further another person’s private interests. And a member must never use information that is obtained in his or her capacity as an MLA and that is not available to the public to further or seek to further the member’s private interests or improperly to further or seek to further another person’s private interests.

Members are expected to act with integrity and impartiality that will bear the closest scrutiny.

What are conflicts of interest?
A conflict of interest arises when a member allows their private interests to interfere with their ability to properly perform their duties of public office.

How do I avoid conflicts of interest?

The Commissioner provides expert advice about how best to arrange personal affairs so that members and their families are not placed in a compromising position.

If you are appointed a minister of the Crown, you may be required to liquidate some or all of your assets or put them into a blind trust. Members who are not ministers or parliamentary assistants are very rarely required to make special arrangements for their assets.

Gifts and personal benefits

Members are prohibited from accepting gifts and/or personal benefits offered to them in their official capacity, except in limited circumstances:
  • The gift or benefit is received as an incident of the customs, protocols or social obligations that normally accompany the member’s responsibilities of office;
  • If the Commissioner is of the opinion it is unlikely that receipt of the gift or benefit gives rise to a reasonable presumption that it was given in order to influence the MLA in the performance of his or her duties.
Certain gifts and/or benefits must be disclosed to the Commissioner.

Post-service restrictions

The post-service restrictions found in the Conflict of Interest Act apply only to members of the Executive Council. You may choose to speak with the Commissioner about those restrictions before you accept a ministerial appointment. Even if you do not meet with the Commissioner beforehand, you will be invited to meet with the Commissioner when you leave the Executive Council.

Summary

The Conflict of Interest Act is required reading for all prospective and current members as it contains further rules and values that must be adhered to by all members.

Disclaimer

The information on this page is provided as an overview of the obligations under the Act that any person must assume if they are elected as an MLA. If there is an inconsistency between the Act and the information on this page, the Act prevails.
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