Ottawa

Chiarelli's challenge of integrity commissioner's reach on hold

Coun. Rick Chiarelli's challenge of the integrity commission's authority to investigate complaints against him is on hold after a judicial panel asked the parties to meet outside the court process.

Panel of judges has asked embattled councillor, city officials to meet outside court process

College ward Coun. Rick Chiarell speaks during a city council meeting in March 2019. (CBC)

Coun. Rick Chiarelli's challenge of the integrity commission's authority to investigate complaints against him is on hold after a judicial panel asked the parties to meet outside the court process.

The College ward councillor's judicial review application against the city and integrity commissioner Robert Marleau was set to begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Instead, the three parties are to meet at some point in the coming weeks, although no date has been set.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement, a new date for the judicial review hearing will be set.

Since a CBC News investigation began reporting allegations of the councillor's inappropriate behaviour toward job applicants and former staff members in the fall of 2019, Chiarelli has argued that Marleau, who produced two separate reports on Chiarelli's conduct, had no authority to investigate the complaints.

In October 2019, Chiarelli released his only public statement on the allegations, in which he blamed the complaints on "mob mentality." The councillor argued that the "vast majority of the allegations" against him would be "properly and thoroughly covered by protections and processes set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code."

In July 2020, the councillor's lawyer stated he was launching a judicial review, and would argue that council showed a "reasonable apprehension of bias" toward Chiarelli by refusing to grant his request for a leave of absence.

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