Ombuds and Appeals Committee Terms Of Reference

Ombuds and Appeals Committee (OAC)  Terms of Reference


The Ombuds & Appeals Committee (OAC) is guided by the Constitution and Bylaws1 of the Green Party of Canada as well as the Principles of the Global Greens Charter and  seeks that those are upheld in all GPC activities.Those principles are:

  • Ecological Wisdom
  • Social Justice
  • Participatory Democracy
  • Non-Violence
  • Sustainability
  • Respect for Diversity


The OAC is an independent body, accountable to the membership at General Meetings  of the GPC, and is not under the direction of the GPC Federal Council or any other body  or unit of the GPC.  

The OAC functions as an appeals body when member-submitted complaints or  concerns have not been resolved by other units of the GPC. The OAC’s mandate  encompasses, but is not necessarily limited to, decisions and actions undertaken by members or functionaries of the GPC while associated with GPC activities or while  publicly recognized as connected with the GPC, including governance concerns. 

The OAC will not handle complaints primarily related to:

  • decisions or actions outside the GPC;  
  • differences of opinion regarding GPC policy;  
  • personal disputes between some members;  
  • illegal activities and criminal behaviour; or  
  • employee grievances.

1 These OAC Terms of Reference are created and maintained by the OAC under the authority of the  Green Party of Canada (GPC) Constitution. These Terms of Reference take effect in February, 2023 and supersede all previous versions.
At the date of this document, Section 7.5 of the GPC Constitution contains Bylaws regarding the OAC:

7.5 The Ombuds and Appeals Committee shall:

7.5.1 Recevoir les plaintes des membres du Parti concernant des décisions prises par des unités organisées ou des fonctionnaires du Parti qui affectent leurs droits en tant que membres, ou des préoccupations concernant la gouvernance du Parti.
7.5.2 Décider d'accepter ou non chaque plainte et de la traiter, et informer le plaignant de la décision.
7.5.3 Pour les cas acceptés, émettre des rapports avec les recommandations du comité à toutes les parties concernées.
7.5.4 Informer régulièrement le Conseil fédéral de ses activités.
7.5.5 Maintenir des lignes directrices pour la conduite et le fonctionnement du comité de médiation et d'appel.


  1. As per Bylaw 7.1 of the GPC2, “The Ombuds and Appeals Committee shall be  selected at a General Meeting of Members, and such selection shall have due regard  and respect for gender parity and regional balance.”
  2. The OAC must have a minimum of 3 members and may have up to 10 members.  Members of the GPC who meet OAC criteria as set forth in these Terms of Reference  are eligible to be members of the OAC.  
  3. Members of the OAC must be GPC members in good standing and may not,  while on the OAC, be employed by the GPC or be a member of Federal Council or of  the Fund Board.  
  4. GPC members who are indebted to the GPC, are engaged in legal action against  the GPC, have been convicted of criminal offences or subjected to disciplinary actions  by professional bodies, or are currently facing same, or have demonstrated other past  or current conduct that would cause harm to the reputation of the GPC if revealed may be found ineligible for membership on the OAC.  
  5. All members of the GPC must be informed by email and on the GPC website  regarding the opportunity to apply for membership on the OAC. GPC members from  historically marginalized groups shall be encouraged to apply. Members must apply  through the online application form available on the GPC website. The application period for OAC membership must open and close with sufficient time to ensure eligibility  of candidates before being selected at a General Meeting of the GPC, concomitant with  candidacy and elections for other positions.
  6. If a vacancy arises on the OAC between General Meetings, the remaining  members of the OAC may, by consensus, fill the vacancy by appointment until the next  General Meeting of members. All members of the GPC must be informed of this  opportunity by email and on the GPC website. Members from historically marginalized groups shall be encouraged to apply. Members must apply through the online  application form communicated to members of the GPC.  
  7. OAC Co-Chairs shall be elected by majority vote of the members of the OAC for  a term of one year; interim Co-Chairs may be elected for a term of less than one year  and shall have the same role and responsibilities as Co-Chairs.
  8. Co-Chairs shall be responsible for outside communications of the OAC, unless  otherwise decided by the OAC. 

2 As at the date of this document.


  1. If an OAC member resigns, then the position is considered vacated. Likewise, if  an OAC member ceases to qualify for the OAC, becomes unable to participate, or fails  to participate for two months or more without providing reasons accepted by the other OAC members, then the remaining OAC members may vote to remove the member by  a majority vote at any regular meeting.  
  2. Members of the OAC must self-declare if they have any official positions in any  other units of the GPC, or personal relationships (such as business relationships, close  friendships or family connections) with members of any other official bodies or units of  the GPC or with employees of the GPC. Existing members must declare immediately  any such relationship should that relationship commence while they are already a  member of the OAC.  
  3. Members of the OAC must maintain strict confidentiality regarding information  provided for complaints and discussions related to complaints among OAC members,  unless authorized as part of their OAC work. A significant breach of confidentiality is  sufficient cause for removal of an OAC member.  
  4. Except for the reasons given in Paragraph (1) above, a member of the OAC can  be removed only during a meeting called for that purpose with a minimum of seven days  notice, with reasons given, and at which the member is invited to respond. A motion to  remove that member can pass at that meeting by a two-thirds majority of the other  attending OAC members.  
  5. An OAC Member who has a concern about the conduct of another OAC member  is encouraged to first attempt to clarify the situation and resolve that concern individually  with that member. If the matter is not resolved, the member may seek to address the  issue at the next OAC meeting.  
  6. OAC Co-Chairs may, in case of urgent need, suspend the status of an OAC  member until the OAC can resolve the issue.
  7. The OAC must keep minutes of meetings in which all decisions are recorded.  OAC minutes are confidential and shall be accessible only to current OAC members.  The OAC has the discretion to release such confidential documents on a case-by-case  basis.  
  8. Members of the OAC must not express personal opinions regarding complaints  received by the OAC or other GPC members publicly, including on any social media.  Members of the OAC may only communicate about OAC matters with GPC members  and functionaries with the knowledge and consent of the OAC.  
  9. Members of the OAC should be able to look impartially at all sides of an issue, to  be neutral regarding personalities, and exercise sound and fair judgment in their  interpretation of the Constitution and Bylaws and Values of the GPC.


  1. Members’ complaints to the OAC must be submitted through the GPC website  form. If a complaint is received through an alternate channel, the OAC may request that  a member resubmit their complaint through the form. In the case of accessibility issues,  the OAC may accept the complaint via another channel if the same questions are  answered and a record of it is kept by the OAC.

  2. Complaints to the OAC must clearly outline the right(s) impacted or governance  concern(s). Complaints must explain how other units or bodies of the GPC were  informed and have failed to address the concern(s). 

  3. Complainants applying to the OAC must be members of the GPC in good  standing, or have been members of the GPC in good standing at the time of the subject  of the complaint, and must conduct dealings with the OAC in good faith. The OAC may  take the behaviour of a complainant during an investigation into consideration and may  choose to drop a complaint in cases of uncooperative or unacceptable conduct by the  complainant.

  4. The OAC may refuse to accept complaints about incidents or decisions that took  place over one year earlier, unless there are circumstances that made the delay  unavoidable.


  1. When a complaint is received, all members of the OAC must declare any biases  and conflicts of interest they may have regarding the parties involved and the matter at  issue. An OAC member must recuse themself from the complaint if a majority of the OAC, excluding that member, believes there is a reasonable perception that the  member might be unduly biased or has a conflict of interest.

    The OAC uses the following definitions of bias and conflict of interest:

    a. Bias can be imputed when a decision-maker is not a party to a matter and  does not have a direct or personal interest in its outcome, but their relationships,  history or behaviour gives reason to believe that they are not impartial.
    b. Conflict of interest means a situation in which a decision-maker has a  private or personal interest sufficient to appear to influence the objective exercise of  their official duties. 
  2. For each complaint, the OAC then decides whether to accept the complaint for  consideration or to decline it, and notifies the complainant of its decision. If a complaint  is declined, the notification shall include the reason(s) for declining the complaint. The  OAC may also request further information from the complainant before deciding  whether or not to accept the complaint.  
  3. If both sides of a complaint prefer an informal resolution, the OAC may choose to  achieve an informal resolution to a complaint, where this is possible and preferable to all  involved parties. 
  4. At least two members of the OAC, but preferably more, shall be assigned to any  accepted complaint.  
  5. The OAC will share the substance of the complaint with the respondent(s) to the  complaint and give them adequate time to respond to the complaint and to any  assertions it contains. No party is compelled to respond, but the OAC may consider any  lack of response in its deliberations and reach its conclusions based on the information  it does receive. However, if that is the case, it shall be stated explicitly in the report.
  6. Members of the OAC who are engaged in resolving a complaint must carefully  and promptly attend to all communications regarding the complaint. OAC members  must respect the importance of timeliness for all parties to a complaint.  
  7. The OAC may ask questions of any member of the GPC or other persons, where  possible, to seek additional information or clarity during the course of investigating a  complaint. Questions should be asked and answered in a manner which allows a record  to be kept. Written communications should include reasonable deadlines for replies,  taking into account the importance of a timely resolution.  
  8. The OAC may amend the scope of a complaint based on information gathered  from third parties. If multiple related complaints are submitted, the OAC may treat the  complaints as a single case.
  9. OAC members who work on a complaint will strive not to be affected by their  personal relationships with the complainant or respondents and GPC political influence.  If any member becomes concerned about their own impartiality, they will remove  themselves from the complaint.  
  10. The OAC will strive to produce reports that are balanced, fair, evidence-based  and free from assessments of intent. At a minimum, this will be ensured by presenting  all the sides of a complaint in a non-biased way, including contradictory evidence, as  part of its analysis before proceeding to conclusions and recommendations.
  11. The OAC shall give the complainant and, where appropriate, the respondents a  reasonable opportunity to respond to the “factual background” portion of a draft report  before issuing a final report.  
  12. The OAC will determine the final wording of its reports, including findings and  recommendations, by a collaboration of members who are assigned to the complaint.  Each report is reviewed by all non-recused OAC members, with the intent of finding  consensus, before the OAC releases the report.  
  13. The OAC has no power of enforcement; its decisions are in the form of  recommendations. However, the OAC shall ask for an official response from the Units to  whom recommendations are made, such as Federal Council, including how and when it  intends to follow-up on those recommendations. The OAC may then update the  complainant(s).   
  14. Reports may be appealed to the OAC for reconsideration if the appellant  establishes that the report was based on incomplete or erroneous information through  no fault of the appellant.


  1. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all reports of the OAC are confidential to the  parties to whom the OAC sends them. The OAC will include, at the top of each  confidential report, the following statement:


    This report is confidential. If you did not receive this report directly from the OAC,  it is not intended for your eyes. Please delete it immediately and inform the OAC  at that you received it.
  2. For each completed complaint, the OAC will issue a report with its findings and  recommendations without delay to all complainants, respondents and other parties  directly affected.

  3. The names of all OAC members assigned to the complaint and the complainant  shall be acknowledged on each report. The OAC shall keep a record of those who  provided information regarding each report.

  4. The OAC will produce a report for each General Meeting of members. This report  will be published to the membership and transmitted to Federal Council. This report will  include basic metrics of the number of complaints received, accepted and declined, the general categories complaints fell into (e.g., two accepted complaints about bylaw  violations) and a compilation of governance recommendations published in the calendar  year. At the discretion of the OAC, it may also include other information of interest to the  membership or Federal Council, such as outcomes following recommendations. This  report will be prepared by the OAC and approved by consensus if possible, otherwise  by a minimum of two thirds of OAC members.

  5. If recommendations of the OAC to official Units of the Party are not acted upon,  or if the OAC has not had any response from said Units, the OAC will include this  information in their regular report to the membership.  

These updated Terms of Reference are approved and adopted by the OAC on February 26, 2023.