Background

On August 3, 1989, a review panel was established by Order-in-Council 425/89 to review Alberta legislation and guidelines that relate to conflict of interest rules applicable to members of the Executive Council, Members of the Legislative Assembly, and senior public servants in Alberta. In 1990, the Chairman, Chief Judge E. R. Wachowich, and the two other panel members, Dr. Walter Buck and Mr. Frank King, reported the panel's findings to Premier Don Getty. The report was tabled that year in the Alberta Legislature.

The government responded to the report in 1991 by introducing Bill 40, the Conflicts of Interest Act, which received Royal Assent on June 25, 1991. Part 7 of the Act was proclaimed into force in order to allow the Legislature's Select Standing Committee on Legislative Offices to proceed to advertising, interviewing, selecting, and recommending a candidate for the position of Ethics Commissioner. This all-party committee uses an open competition procedure to fill vacancies in all five Legislative Officer positions.

The Committee's report and its recommendation were unanimously agreed to by the Legislative Assembly on March 23, 1992. On April 1, 1992, Robert C. Clark was appointed as Alberta's first Ethics Commissioner. He was re-appointed to a second five-year term effective April 1, 1997, and a third five-year term effective April 1, 2002. He resigned as Ethics Commissioner effective March 31, 2003.

A second review panel was appointed in 1995 and was chaired by Professor Allan Tupper, who was with the University of Alberta at the time. The Conflicts of Interest Act was amended in 1998 in response to that panel's recommendations. Under the 1998 amendments to the Act, a clause was added to the legislation requiring a special committee of the Legislative Assembly to review the Act every five years and to report any recommendations to the Assembly within one year of commencing its review.   A review committee was created in 2005 and reported to the Legislative Assembly in May, 2006.

In 2003, the Select Special Ethics Commissioner and Ombudsman Search Committee presented its report to the Legislative Assembly recommending the appointment of Donald Hamilton as Alberta's second Ethics Commissioner. The Legislative Assembly concurred in the recommendation by resolution.   Mr. Hamilton was appointed Ethics Commissioner effective May 28, 2003.

The Legislative Assembly agreed to Government Motion 14 on May 14, 2008, which established an Ethics Commissioner Search Committee. The Committee presented its report to the Legislative Assembly on October 21, with a recommendation that Neil R. Wilkinson be appointed Alberta's third Ethics Commissioner. A motion to approve the recommendation was passed by the Legislative Assembly on October 23. Neil Wilkinson was appointed Alberta's third Ethics Commissioner by Order-in-Council 542/2008 on November 19, 2008.

On May 7, 2014, the Select Special Ethics Commissioner Search Committee presented the Legislative Assembly with a recommendation to appoint Marguerite Trussler, Q.C. as Alberta's fourth Ethics Commissioner. The Government Motion 14 was approved and Ms. Trussler was appointed to a five year term commencing May 26, 2014.