The Integrity Commissioner is appointed by the Commissioner of Nunavut, on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly. Her term of office is five years. She is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly and cannot be removed from office except for cause or incapacity. She has taken an oath to perform the duties of her office impartially and not to disclose any confidential information or advice except in accordance with the Integrity Act. Decisions made by the Integrity Commissioner are not subject to any appeal.

The Honourable Robert Stanbury served as Nunavut’s first Integrity Commissioner from 1999 to 2008. Norman Pickell served as Integrity Commissioner for a term of five years, from 2008 to 2013. The Honourable J. Edward (Ted) Richard served as Integrity Commissioner from 2013 to 2018.

The current Integrity Commissioner is Katherine Peterson, who was appointed Integrity Commissioner of Nunavut on October 23, 2018 for a term of five years, on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly.

Brief Biography: Ms. Peterson was admitted to the Law Society of the Northwest Territories in 1978, and to the Law Society of Nunavut in 1999.

Ms. Peterson has held a number of appointments and positions during her career, including:

  • Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories;
  • President of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories;
  • Senior Partner in the firm of Peterson, Stang and Malakoe;
  • Chairperson of the Family Law Subsection of the Yellowknife Branch of the Canadian Bar Association;
  • Special Advisor to the Minister of Justice on Gender Equality in the Administration of Justice;
  • Investigator and Fact-Finder in the Chesterfield Inlet Residential School Investigation; and
  • External Reviewer in the Matter of the Government of Nunavut’s Actions Following the Death of Baby Makibi - Cape Dorset.

Ms. Peterson was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1989 and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Ms. Peterson spent over 30 years as an active and engaged resident of the North.

Role of the Integrity Commissioner

The main role of the Integrity Commissioner is to assist MLAs in fulfilling their commitments to act with integrity and in compliance with the Integrity Act. In this role the Integrity Commissioner is a resource for the MLAs. Any MLA can at any time consult with the Integrity Commissioner to obtain advice on his or her obligations under the Integrity Act. The consultations, and the advice given whether verbal or in writing, are confidential, subject to a few specific exceptions.

In addition to the main “advisory” role that the Integrity Commissioner has with respect to MLAs, the Integrity Commissioner also has an investigative role under the Integrity Act, i.e., to determine whether an MLA has contravened the Act.

Allegations of an MLA’s misconduct (i.e., a contravention of a provision of the Integrity Act) are received by the Integrity Commissioner and investigated and reported upon pursuant to a process detailed in s.36-45 of the Act.

Any member of the public, including another MLA, can request that the Integrity Commissioner review an alleged contravention of the Integrity Act by an MLA. There is a class of senior public officials who are excluded from initiating a review by the Integrity Commissioner. These officials are listed in ss.36(1.1) of the Act. The Legislative Assembly itself can, by resolution, request a review by the Integrity Commissioner. The Premier can request a review with respect to a Minister. The Integrity Commissioner can also conduct a review on his own initiative.

The request for a review by the Integrity Commissioner is made in writing, sets out the alleged contravention, the grounds for believing that the contravention occurred, and is supported by an affidavit of the person making the request. Upon receipt of the request the Integrity Commissioner gives notice to the affected MLA, and commences his review as soon as practicable. The Integrity Commissioner has a discretion to conduct the review in private or in public. The Integrity Commissioner is to make his report within 90 days of commencing the review, although there is provision for an extension of time in appropriate circumstances.

Following the review, the Integrity Commissioner will make a determination whether the MLA has contravened the Integrity Act, and, if so, the Integrity Commissioner can recommend one or more sanctions to the Legislative Assembly.

There have been several formal Reviews conducted by the Integrity Commissioner in the past 10 years concerning alleged misconduct by certain MLAs. The formal Reports to the Legislative Assembly resulting from these earlier Reviews are public documents and can be accessed elsewhere on this website.