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Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario Accuses Waterloo Regional Councillor Michael Harris of Conflict of Interest

/EIN News/ -- TORONTO, March 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carpenter’s District Council of Ontario (CDCO) today brought forward an Application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act alleging a serious breach of Municipal Conflict of Interest obligations by Waterloo Regional Councillor Michael Harris.

On January 16, 2019, Mr. Harris introduced, spoke to, and voted on a motion in which he has a pecuniary interest but failed to declare that conflict and recuse himself from the issue.

“Mr. Harris brought forward a motion in Council to have the Region of Waterloo declare support for Bill 66, legislation currently before the Ontario Legislature, which would, among other things declare that municipalities in Ontario are no longer designated as “construction employers”, said Mike Yorke, President of CDCO.  “In the case of Waterloo, should this Bill pass, it would mean the Region would no longer be obligated to recognize the existing bargaining rights of the Carpenters’ Union and to follow the existing collective agreement with the CDCO”.

The Minutes of the January 16th Regional Council meeting clearly show that Mr. Harris failed to disclose that he has a pecuniary interest in the outcome of that vote.  Sarah Harris, Mr. Harris’ spouse, works for the Christian Labour Association of Canada, an organization that would benefit directly if Bill 66 is passed and the Region of Waterloo is allowed to ignore the collective bargaining rights of CDCO and its members.

“Under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, Mr. Harris should never have introduced his motion at Council given his clear pecuniary interest in its outcome based on his spouse’s employment with CLAC”, added Mr. Yorke.  “Accordingly, had another Councillor moved the motion, Mr. Harris should have declared a conflict and recused himself from the debate and vote on the motion”.

In filing its application with the Ontario Superior Court, the CDCO seeks the court to, among other things:

  • Declare that Mr. Harris breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act
  • Make multiple declarations about his failure to uphold the law
  • Declare his council seat vacant
  • Declare that Mr. Harris can run for no municipal council seat in any municipality for a period of seven years, or a time period as determined by the court

About the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (CDCO)
The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario (“CDCO”) is composed of 16 affiliated Local Unions of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners across the province. In total, we represent over 20.000 women and men working in a wide range of skilled trades, including carpentry, drywall, resilient flooring, concrete formwork, underwater construction, welding, scaffolding, and a long list of other construction-related work.

Media inquiries to:
Mike Yorke


Distribution channels: Building & Construction Industry

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