Justin Di Ciano wasn’t present at a city council meeting Wednesday where his colleagues approved a controversial land planning report that will benefit a developer with whom the Etobicoke councillor has had ties.
It’s unclear why Di Ciano, who told councillors earlier this week that he was looking forward to the debate and had been cleared of any potential conflict of interest, skipped the meeting. Last month, Di Ciano introduced an amendment to the report allowing for residential homes to be built at the site — going against the recommendations of city staff, saying it fits the city’s growth strategy.
Stephen D’Agostino, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in municipal law, said that Di Ciano has no legal conflict of interest.
The province’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act prohibits councillors from debating issues where they have a financial interest, and that extends to any interests of the councillor’s parent, spouse or child, D’Agostino said. But it doesn’t extend to brothers or sisters.
“There is a flaw in the Act,” D’Agostino said.
“The brother could have a blatant interest here and the Act would not apply. The end result is that to put the councillor in a legal (as opposed to moral conflict) there would have to be evidence of a direct pecuniary interest.”
View this article as it originally appeared on CBC.ca: Coun. Justin Di Ciano skip rezoning vote that benefits developer he has ties to
For more information, please contact municipal lawyer Stephen D’Agostino at 416-868-3126.