THE City of Surrey is the first municipality in British Columbia to establish the position of Ethics Commissioner. After a nationwide search for a suitable candidate and the receipt of applications from over 30 well qualified candidates, Surrey Council unanimously appointed Reece Harding as the City’s first ethics commissioner. Harding is a partner with Young, Anderson and has extensive experience working with local governments on an operational, administrative, and elected level. He has appeared on behalf of local governments in every level of court in Canada.
“While there was no shortage of qualified candidates for the position of ethics commissioner, Reece Harding’s comprehensive experience in municipal law, advising elected officials on responsible conduct, and conflict resolution and his high standing among his peers makes him the right person to fill this important role at the City of Surrey,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. “On behalf of Council, I want to congratulate Reece as he begins his new duties as ethics commissioner. I would also like to thank the Ethics Selection Committee for their diligence and hard work in assisting the City in the recruiting process.”
As an independent officer, the role of the ethics commissioner is to advise and assist Council on how best to enhance open, transparent, and accountable governance. The mandate of the ethics commissioner also includes the authority to investigate complaints and make disciplinary recommendations to Council.
According to Harding’s biography at younganderson.ca, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University and graduated from the UBC Faculty of Law in 1992. He articled with the Attorney-General of British Columbia. His practice is primarily focused on local government law litigation, but includes significant components of aboriginal law, assessment and taxation law, natural hazard risk avoidance, governance advice, mediation and police law.
Harding has appeared routinely in the British Columbia Provincial Court, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Canada and recently appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada. He also appears before several administrative tribunals including the Property Assessment Appeal Board and Coroner’s Court and routinely conducts hearings before local government Councils.
In 2014, Reece completed his training as a mediator through the Justice Institute of BC.
Reece is a member of the Municipal Law subsection of the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and instructs, as a guest lecturer, at the Municipal Administration Training Institute. In the past he has served on the Ministry of Environment ad hoc committee on local government liability issues arising from the contaminated sites legislation and on the advisory committee to the Attorney General providing guidance on amendments to the British Columbia Limitation Act. He is also a frequent contributor and speaker at LGMA, UBCM and LGLA events.