Integrity and Ethics Office Roles
The Ethics Advisor provides advice and guidance to members of Council on matters of conduct that create a legal risk for a Council member, a risk to a Council member’s public reputation, or a risk to City Council. The Ethics Advisor provides advice to members of Council individually, but also advises on general questions of conduct relevant for all members of Council. The Ethics Advisor will not provide an opinion on the appropriateness of a Council member’s conduct unless asked to do so by that Council member, but can provide advice to all members of Council where it appears to her to be appropriate or useful to do so. The Ethics Advisor may assist in the resolution of complaints about Council member conduct referred by the Integrity Commissioner after assessment.
Complaints about Council members conduct will be received and reviewed by the Integrity Commissioner who, in the Integrity Commissioner’s sole discretion, will decide how or whether such complaints should be addressed. Options for the Integrity Commissioner on receiving a complaint about Council member conduct will include dismissing the complaint, further investigation of the complaint, adjudicating the complaint or referring the complaint to the Ethics Advisor for resolution. If the Integrity Commissioner finds a that there has been misconduct, a report will be provided to Council. The report will summarize the findings and make recommendations to Council on the appropriate consequence or sanction for improper conduct by a Council member. The Integrity Commissioner will not consider complaints about City Administration, the City Auditor or about election conduct.
Dr. Emily Laidlaw, JD, PhD – Ethics Advisor
Emily Laidlaw is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary where she teaches internet law, privacy and cybersecurity. She spent almost ten years in the United Kingdom where she completed her LLM and PhD at the London School of Economics and Political Science and held a tenure-track lectureship at the University of East Anglia Law School in information technology, intellectual property and media law. Before undertaking postgraduate studies, Dr. Laidlaw practiced law in Calgary.
Dr. Laidlaw's expertise is in the areas of technology law, social media regulation, privacy, cybersecurity, human rights and corporate social responsibility. She has authored numerous publications, including her book, Regulating Speech in Cyberspace: Gatekeepers, Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility, published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. Her current research on developing privacy for the digital age is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Dr. Laidlaw speaks widely about her fields of expertise to governmental bodies, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, practitioners, judges and the general public.
Dr. Laidlaw is currently an advisor to the Law Commission of Ontario concerning defamation law in the age of the internet. As a result of the impact of her work, Dr. Laidlaw was named a Peak Scholar at the University of Calgary in 2018.
Ellen-Anne O’Donnell B.A., L.L.B., Med., Q. Arb. - Integrity Commissioner
Ellen-Anne O’Donnell brings over 30 years of legal experience and public service to the role of Integrity Commissioner, including mediation, arbitration and dispute resolution.
Ms. O’Donnell received an undergraduate degree from McGill University in 1984 and a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, York University in 1988. She was called to the Alberta Bar in 1989 and is currently a member of the Law Society of Alberta, the Canadian Bar Association, the ADR Institute of Alberta and the ADR Institute of Canada.
Ms. O’Donnell practiced family law in Calgary, Alberta for many years and later turned her focus to administrative law. Her family law practice included alternative dispute resolution methods, including collaborative law, mediation, arbitration and negotiation. She volunteered as a Dispute Resolution Officer at the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench from 2001 to 2006. Ms. O’Donnell has experience appearing before all levels of Court in the Province of Alberta. In 2016 she received a Certificate in Advanced Negotiation from the Harvard Negotiation Program at the Harvard Law School. In 2017 she obtained her Qualified Arbitrator designation from the ADR Institute of Canada.
Ms. O’Donnell turned her professional career to administrative law in 2011, when she was appointed to the Law Enforcement Review Board. She was appointed Board Chair from 2018 to 2021. She represented the Board nationally on the Canadian Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement from 2018 to 2021. She was a panelist in the Arkinstall Inquiry held in Calgary 2018. Ms. O’Donnell represented the Law Enforcement Review Board in the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General’s Police Act Review Consultations. She also served as a member, Vice Chair and Acting Chair of the Criminal Injuries Review Board from 2015 to 2019. She served on the Alberta Human Services Appeal Panels from 2016 to 2018.
Ms. O’Donnell is a former volunteer board member for Hospice Calgary and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Calgary.