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.
Emily Laidlaw, BA, JD, LLM, PhD – Ethics Advisor
Emily Laidlaw is a Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity Law and Associate Professor at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Law. She has served as Ethics Advisor to the Members of Council since April 2019.
Dr. Laidlaw obtained her BA from Linfield University and JD from the University of Saskatchewan. She practiced as a litigator in Calgary before moving to London, United Kingdom where she obtained her LLM and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was a law professor at the University of East Anglia Law School. After many enjoyable years in the UK, she was thrilled to return home to Calgary with her family in 2014.
Dr. Laidlaw researches and advises in the areas of technology law and human rights, in particular concerning social media, corporate ethics and online harms. 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. Dr. Laidlaw actively contributes to law reform and other advisory work, with recent projects for the Federal Government, Law Commission of Ontario, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development. As a result of the impact of her work, she was named a Peak Scholar at the University of Calgary in 2018.
From 2014-2021 Dr. Laidlaw served as a member of the board of Student Legal Assistance.
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.