Canada’s First Lobbying Czar to Become City of Ottawa’s New Integrity Commissioner – Ottawa

The city of Ottawa has hired Karen Shepherd to replace outgoing integrity commissioner Robert Marleau, according to a memo sent Friday afternoon.

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City Secretary Rick O’Connor said Shepherd will start the position on September 1 for a one-year appointment with the option of extension for another five-year term.

Shepherd has served in the federal government for more than 30 years, “more than half of which in ethics,” O’Connor wrote.

Karen Shepherd becomes Ottawa’s second-ever integrity commissioner.

Photo via City of Ottawa

This includes serving as Canada’s first lobbying commissioner in 2009, building a forum for international discussions about lobbying practices between provincial and municipal regulators.

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She later joined Health Canada as a senior advisor and later ombudsperson for the department and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Shepherd holds a bachelor’s degree in the arts from Concordia University and a master’s degree in public affairs from Carleton University, where she received the 2010 Bissett Alumni Award for distinguished contributions to the public sector.

Shepherd becomes Ottawa’s second-ever integrity commissioner, stepping into the shoes Marleau has held since the role began in 2012.

In the last year of Marleau’s tenure alone, he has filed a string of high-profile reports on councilors’ conduct, including two scathing reviews from College Coun. The behavior of Rick Chiarelli towards female staffers and applicants to his office.

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More recently, his research into Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder’s handling of her relationship with a development manager saw the experienced alderman resign from her role as chairman from the city’s planning committee in June.

Shepherd will be working with Marleau for the next six weeks as a transitional period, O’Connor wrote in the memo.

He said 14 people applied for the role of open integrity commissioner over the course of May, with Shepherd being chosen as the preferred candidate in late June.

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