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Former Toronto mayor's affair with staffer broke ethic rules, integrity commissioner rules


Former Toronto mayor John Tory violated the city's code of conduct by engaging in a personal relationship with a staffer and then taking part in council votes on the FIFA World Cup after that staffer left city hall to work for a company helping to organize the event, Toronto's integrity commissioner says.

Tory began a consensual relationship with a political staffer who worked in his office – referred to in the report as "Ms. A" – in the summer of 2020 and ultimately resigned because of it almost three years later.

In a 122-page report released Thursday, Integrity Commissioner Jonathan Batty found that Tory contravened council's Code of Conduct with the relationship "as he failed to observe the terms of the Human Resources Management and Ethical Framework for Members’ Staff."

The integrity commissioner also found Tory violated the code by taking part in two council votes on Toronto's FIFA World Cup bid because the former staffer had gone on to a job at a company involved in the matter. Voting on a matter that could have had a direct impact on Ms. A's employment while still in a relationship with her amounted to an improper use of influence, Batty ruled.

However he found that Tory did not violate other rules, such as the city’s Human Rights and Anti-harassment/discrimination Policy or improperly use his influence as mayor to help Ms. A while she worked in his office or afterward to get a job at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.

Typically, council is able to sanction a councillor or mayor who violates the Code of Conduct by suspending their pay or formally reprimanding them.

Since Tory is no longer a sitting member of council, Batty said, council can clearly not suspend his pay.

"While it may be within the authority of Council to reprimand a former Member, it is my view that reprimanding a person who requested I investigate their conduct as they resigned office would serve no purpose," he wrote.

Tory resigned in February after publicly admitting to the relationship. He asked the integrity commissioner to probe the matter when he resigned.

While Batty did not recommend that Tory be sanctioned, he said it was "unfortunate" that the former mayor had not sought proper advice on how to handle the relationship.

"As shown, Mr. Tory put himself in a conflict of interest when he began this relationship," Batty wrote. "Because it was not managed appropriately from the outset, it raised questions whether City resources were used inappropriately. It raised questions whether Mr. Tory improperly used his influence for the benefit of Ms. A while she was on his political staff and when she was looking for a job from the Mayor’s Office."

In a statement Thursday, the former mayor said he "fully accepts" that he could have and should have handled the matter differently.

“I sincerely regret the impact my actions had on so many people in my life and on the people of the City of Toronto who it was my honour to serve for so many years," Tory wrote. "I have tried to deal with this in an honourable manner and I am looking forward to finding new ways to contribute to the success of the city I love."

He also thanked Batty and his staff for "their professionalism and thoughtfulness throughout this process.”

Tory's resignation triggered an unprecedented byelection to choose a new mayor. The race drew over 100 candidates and ultimately ended in Olivia Chow's election to the post in June. Top Stories

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