CREDIBLE / INDEPENDENT / COMPETENT
The National Citizens’ Inquiry is calling on Canadians to identify individuals whom they would trust
to oversee the Inquiry process in an impartial and transparent manner.
CALL FOR COMMISSIONERS IS OPEN!
Canadians may now suggest individuals for the role of NCI Commissioner, the exact number of which is to be decided shortly.
Learn about the Eligibility Criteria, Selection Process, and how to Suggest Commissioners below.
The Commission is constituted pursuant to, and responsible for implementing, the NCI’s Terms of Reference. The Commission has sole responsibility for overseeing the inquiry process. This includes:
- Establishing how testimony will be received and heard
- Accepting and examining witnesses, reviewing submitted evidence, and requesting any additional information
- Preparing a written report of their findings, including recommendations
The Commissioners shall select a Chair from among themselves in whatever manner they determine appropriate. The Commission Chair shall be responsible for leading the Commission’s affairs and liaising with the NCI Support Group on administrative matters, The Chair will be the chief spokesperson for the Inquiry.
The Commission will be supported by dedicated staff.
In order to adhere to and accomplish the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference, Commissioners shall:
- Inquire into and dialogue with Canadians concerning any physical, mental, social, economic or other impacts on them as a result of governments’ responses to COVID-19;
- Receive and evaluate testimony from medical, legal, scientific, and other relevant experts concerning the governments’ COVID-19 measures and strategy, ascertain what information was known or knowable by governments, and consider alternative approaches which could have been taken;
– This shall include inviting testimony from healthcare and other government officials, in particular with respect to measures adopted to facilitate or force compliance;
– This shall include examining the constitutionality or lawfulness of the COVID-19 responses generally.
- Invite Canadians to pose unanswered or unclear questions to the Inquiry concerning COVID-19 or governments’ responses thereto, and to make all reasonable efforts to secure answer those questions;
- Receive and evaluate testimony from legacy and independent media to understand what information was known or knowable and why information was conveyed to the public as it was;
- Inquire into and seek testimony concerning governments’ expenditures related to their COVID-19 responses;
- If any harms and/or damages are reasonably established as being wholly or partially caused by governments’ COVID-19 responses, to inquire and evaluate testimony concerning applicable civil or criminal liability;
- To make publicly available to Canadians all findings, submissions, and testimonies certified by and formally presented through the Inquiry; and
- To make recommendations based on lessons learned from Canada’s recent experience with COVID-19 and the governmental response thereto. These recommendations to include proposals to ensure that governmental responses to any future declared public emergencies, including the exercise of related emergency powers and orders or powers, are transparent, democratic, and effective.
Potential Commissioners for the National Citizens Inquiry (NCI) must:
- Be a Canadian citizen of at least 18 years of age
- Be available for the conduct of the Inquiry’s Public Hearings in February-April 2023
- Give their consent to be considered as a Commisisoner.
- Submit a completed questionnaire (see below) providing basic information on themselves to the organizers of the Inquiry.
- Commissioner candidates must be “independent” in the sense of not being connected with any government or corporation involved in the response to COVID-19 or with any interest/advocacy group which has taken strong (and likely justifiable) public positions on various aspects of the COVID-19 response. This would suggest we are looking, at least for the Chief Commissioner, for such persons as a retired judge, ombudsman, member of a quasi-judicial regulatory board, or law faculty, and others who may satisfy this criterion. The aim here is achieve credibility with the public for the Inquiry and counteract the accusation that it is biased one way or another right from the get-go.
- At least some of the Commissioner candidates should have specialized expertise in such areas as public health, medicine, the relevant sciences including the social sciences and economics, and law, in particular civil rights and administrative law. The reason for this is that much of the expected testimony to be presented to the Inquiry will require knowledge and expertise in these areas in order to properly evaluate it.
- It should be noted that by requiring potential candidates “to be ‘independent’ from any interest/advocacy group which has taken strong (and likely justifiable ) public positions on various aspects of the COVID response” this does not mean that representatives of such groups, or others holding such positions are in any way restricted from participating in the Inquiry. In fact the Inquiry will specifically welcome participation by such people and interest groups – not as Commissioners but as witnesses and testifiers to the Inquiry.
Commissioner candidates shall primarily be evaluated against the following criteria:
Does the candidate have demonstrated ability and experience in one or more area relevant to the Inquiry’s investigation (e.g., health, science, law, public policy, ethics, journalism, etc.)?
Does the candidate have the demonstrated ability and experience to consider complex and contentious issues in a fair, logical, and objective manner?
Notwithstanding the candidate’s objective competencies, qualifications, and experience, would the average Canadian reasonably perceivethem as being (a) qualified, and (b) impartial, fair, and objective?
If you are suggesting a Commissioner, we strongly encourage you to consider their public profile during the past three years, including their social media presence, and whether their conduct may reasonably detract from their perceived objectivity. If that is the case, such persons may still potentially qualify to be a witness to the Inquiry.
Commissioners shall be selected through the following process:
- The name of a potential Commissioner is proposed by a visitor to this website by completing the Commissioner Suggestion Form below. The proposer is encouraged to provide the full name of their suggested Commissioner, their coordinates, a brief bio, and an assertion that the proposed Commissioner has agreed to be considered for the post.
- A volunteer Commissioner Selection Committee conducts a preliminary review of all suggestions received and sends invitations to some seeking additional information.
- The volunteer Commission Selection Committee conducts a further review of suggestions received and evaluates them in accordance with the selection criteria listed above.
- The Committee interviews Individuals with the highest scores.
- The Committee presents its evaluation to the NCI Support Group which makes the final selection.
- Successful candidates are contacted, appointed, and publicly announced.
- The appointed Commissioners select their Chair by whatever process they deem appropriate.
Upon the Commission being appointed, the Commission will take over the public role of the NCI Support Group with regard to the conduct of the Public Hearing. The Support Group and Regional Subcommittees will continue to provide logistical, financial, and administrative support to the Commission and Inquiry, but the Chief Commissioner will become the chief spokesperson for the Inquiry.