Conflict Rules Pose Challenges for Elected Officials

Local governments and locally elected officials should take note of a recent court decision regarding conflict of interest provisions. A dilemma has been created for local governments in appointing elected officials to non-profit societies, and for elected officials who volunteer on non-profit societies. 

It is very common for a Council or Regional District to appoint elected officials to community groups on behalf of their local government, particularly where they are providing funding to the non-profit society.  The effect of the court decision could mean that elected officials will no longer be able to participate in non-profit societies that receive money from local government.

A recent decision by the BC Court of Appeal in the case of Schlenker v. Torgrimson has declared that elected officials are in a conflict of interest contrary to the Community Charter when they vote to grant funds to non-profit societies on which they are directors.  Furthermore, the elected official could be disqualified from office if they vote on matters that would benefit the society financially, even if there is no personal financial benefit to them.

UBCM is currently assessing the situation and is gathering input from local government on what action is needed to address this problem.

For further information, please see the Client Bulletin prepared by Young Anderson.

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